EAGAN, Minn. — The relationship between Christian Darrisaw and Trent Williams went from FaceTime to face-to-face this week.
The second-year Vikings left tackle was able to meet Williams in person for the first time Wednesday during the first of two joint practices between Minnesota and the San Francisco 49ers.
Darrisaw grew up near Washington, D.C., watching Williams, who was selected by Washington with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Williams has garnered nine Pro Bowls and is coming off his first selection to The Associated Press' All-Pro First Team.
Darrisaw is coming off his first NFL season in which he recovered from a college injury and showed plenty of evidence for why he also became a first-round pick.
"It was dope. That was my favorite player," Darrisaw, wearing his purple 71 practice jersey, said of the man wearing the red 71 practice jersey.
Williams has become a mentor of sorts to Darrisaw.
"I love C.D., man," Williams told media members Thursday. "First and foremost, he's a great kid. He's open and willing to learn. We know he's physically gifted. Obviously he's a first-round pick.
"I do see a lot of myself in him, especially the young Trent," Williams added. "That's kind of how our conversations are, with me just helping him morph into a more consistent professional.
"It's his second year. He took a huge leap from year one to year two, and it's just the little things. He's such an athlete that he overlooks the technical part of the game because he can just wake up and win," Williams continued. "That's how I got through college, that's how I got through my first three or four years in the NFL. I still have bad habits of going back to that, so that's all I'm working on him about. It's just kind of letting him know what's to come, what changes to make and what can help him in the future."
Williams has learned it's much better to give tips to an offensive lineman than an edge rusher.
In training together with Vikings outside linebacker Danielle Hunter for several years, Williams has offered pearls of wisdom that have since shown up on game days — and these two days of practices.
"I hate Danielle. I love him, but I hate him," Williams quipped. "We trained together his entire career. I'm a little older, but I used to, we used to get together after the workout, and I would do kind of like I do with [49ers defensive end] Nick [Bosa] a lot and kind of go through what we think on this side and what he should be thinking, and he gave me those same type of jewels. I kind of regret doing that sometimes, but he's a great friend of mine. He's an outstanding player, and he definitely makes us better."
Before offering up the goods, Williams had looked at Washington's schedule — or so he thought. Instead of the upcoming season, he had looked at the previous year.
"I didn't think we had the Vikings on the schedule and then, to my surprise, we did," Williams said. "Everything I told him, he did it right then, so I kind of learned from that. It's cool with Nick. We've got the same jersey, so I don't have to worry about that."
Hunter is playing from a 2-point stance more in Minnesota's new 3-4 than he did as a 4-3 defensive end.
Williams said standing up instead of playing with a hand on the ground enables defenders to better see run fits and be a little more nimble when rushing.
"Danielle is so freakishly athletic, so strong and so fast, he probably can start the play facing the opposite way and still get to the quarterback," Williams said.
View the best photos of Vikings T Christian Darrisaw from the 2021 season.
Za'Darius Smith, Minnesota's other starting outside linebacker, also has crossed paths with Williams.
"He's an extremely smart player," Williams said. "I don't think enough people give him enough credit for how smart he is and how he can see what's coming before it comes."
Darrisaw has been able to sharpen his blade against the likes of Hunter and Smith since camp began. He also appreciated two days of going against Bosa and the Niners first-team defense.
"The 49ers defense is one of the best in the NFL, and having them come here and getting to go hard two days against them, it's not like a game where you prepare all week and then the weekend is fast," Darrisaw said.
It's a challenge for sure, but one that Darrisaw fully appreciated, especially with the benefit of being so much healthier at the start of this season compared to last year.
"My body feels great. The guys in the training room, the whole staff from top to bottom is taking real good care of us," Darrisaw said. "Anything we need, they're on top of it. You want to be in the training room getting your body feeling better so you can be the best you can be on the field."