When one of your best players comes asking you about a contract extension, what do you do?
That's what Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is facing after six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams revealed he has approached the team about a contract extension.
I think Spielman has already made his decision here, which is why 2012 could be Williams' last year wearing a purple helmet with horns on the side of it.
This is one of the things that sucks about pro football. Williams has been a great player. He's also been a durable guy who has caused no problems off the field for the Vikings. He deserves to be treated fairly and with respect. You feel like the guy is owed a contract extension from the Vikings.
But in order for a football team to remain competitive, it can't pay guys for lifetime achievement. It has to constantly turn over its roster. It must replace aging players with younger (and hopefully, better) players so a franchise can be successful over the long haul.
This is why – I think – Spielman will part ways with Williams regardless of how well he plays in 2012. Williams will be 32 soon and even though he is still a good defensive tackle, rare is the NFL player who is on the wrong side of 30 and whose play is ascending.
Can Williams be an effective player for another two-to-three years? I think he can. But he will also be looking to get paid like an effective player. Spielman can probably put those dollars to better use elsewhere, and he also saw firsthand in 2011 what happens when a team hangs on too long to the memory of what it was instead of facing up to what it is.
My advice to Vikings fans is to enjoy every snap Williams plays for the Vikings in 2012. We won't be getting an encore from him in 2013.