With LeSean McCoy in rest-mode, Williams made the most of his start with a hard-running night that saw him blast for 39 yards at 9.8 yards per clip.
After quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed his first three passes to wideout Sammy Watkins -- a boon to Bills fans everywhere -- Williams blasted through the heart of Minnesota's defense for a nine-yard gain. The scamper was called back by penalty, but last year's fifth-rounder came back to rip off a 17-yard volt over guard on an impossible third-and-31.
"I was impressed. He ran hard, secured the ball," first-year Bills coach Sean McDermott told The Buffalo News. "We have to evaluate the whole game, though. What happens in pass protection. We'll get a better chance to do that tomorrow. That said, I thought he did some good things with the ball in his hand."
Williams returned on the following drive to gash the Vikings with another 15-yard burst before later hauling in a pass from Taylor for seven yards. The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder also tweaked his hamstring in the game, but later said the injury was "not bad at all."
"Running back is a physical position where -- no matter who you are -- you can't take every snap during the season, so whenever I come in, I just want to be able to help out and help this team win," Williams said. "The more reps I get, the more comfortable I get and the more confidence I have in myself. It's definitely growing."
Preseason often reveals itself to be a wasteland for player evaluation. Low-wattage no-namers shine in August, only to vanish forever come September. Williams, though, used Thursday night as a first step toward carving out a legitimate role in Buffalo.