Vikings Tag Cornerback Williams

The Vikings placed the transition tag on cornerback Brian Williams Thursday.

The Minnesota Vikings have made a surprise move Thursday, placing the transition tag on cornerback Brian Williams.

Williams was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career, but the Vikings will instead pay him the average salary of the top 10 cornerbacks from last year, $4.744 million, more than triple his salary from last year.

Last year, Williams was upset about being tendered as a first-round restricted free agent when the Vikings then acquired cornerback Fred Smoot, prompting Williams to not participate in the voluntary minicamps.

However, Williams showed up on time for training camp and eventually became a starter again when Smoot injured his collarbone during the season. When Smoot returned, Williams kept his starting job during the second half of the season, finishing the season with nine starts and four interceptions.

Williams has started 48 of the 62 regular-season games.

Other teams can still negotiate a contract with Williams, but the Vikings would have one week to match that offer.