Next Opponent: Dolphins bring along familiar foe

At 2-5, the Vikings don't scare Green Bay. But coming up this week, will one of their former players come back to haunt the Packers?<P> When the Packers take on the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field, they'll meet a familiar foe in receiver Cris Carter. The former Viking signed with the Dolphins last week.<P>

The NFL's second all-time leading receiver came out of retirement and the broadcast booth to ink a one-year deal with the Dolphins. The move was in response to losing receiver Oronde Gadsden to a wrist injury.

"The situation just wouldn't go away," Carter said of his return to the game. "I think there were a couple of events that triggered to where we are today. I think the first one was going to Dolphins games and being there. Another thing that got me to this point, even though there is more, is doing the interview with Ricky (Williams) and seeing the players on the field. And I really missed playing. I really missed being around the guys."

The 6-3, 210-pound Carter has played in 229 regular season contests, starting 208 of them. He has caught 1,093 passes for 13,833 yards and 129 touchdowns, placing him second in NFL annals in both receptions and receiving touchdowns, and third in receiving yards.

Even though he's taken some time off since compiling those numbers, Carter said he's in "game shape."

I'm in good shape. I'm not in play 60 plays a game shape, but I'm in good shape. I never got out of shape. But as far as doing some of the things I would typically do, my trainer said, it's about 10 days to two weeks. It's hard to say, because we have that psychotic training we do. We're not talking about that type of thing, but just being in shape to play a game, to play 30 plays, play 40 plays, play 20 plays. I'm in good shape."

Miami, like the Packers, had a bye this week so the MNF tilt will be Carter's first chance to return to the field. Carter played down the importance of facing his former rival:

"The Packers game? Let me just get through this week. I'm just taking everything real slow," Carter said, adding that he doesn't think it will take him long to get ready to join the Dolphins' offense. " I don't think that will be too difficult. Our systems are very, very similar, as far as the numbers and memory. In a pinch, though, just tell me, ‘Cris, down and in.' That's the same language in little league football and professional football."

Rest assured, Carter will be on the field with the ‘Fins at Lambeau Field.

The 36-year old Carter has played 15 years in the NFL, including the first three (1987-89) with Philadelphia and the last 12 with Minnesota (1990-01). The Eagles selected him in the fourth-round of the 1987 Supplemental Draft. He was waived by the team on September 3, 1990, and then claimed by the Vikings the following day. That means he's had more than his share of meetings with the Green and Gold.

The Packers won the only meeting with the Eagles during Carter's run there, 16-10 in overtime at Lambeau Field. Green Bay was 11-13 vs. the Vikings in the "Carter Era," as the Vikes were the only division team to repeatedly vex Mike Holmgren.

Last season Carter scored a TD vs. the Pack in the Vikings' 35-13 win at the Metrodome. He didn't fare as well in the rematch at Lambeau, with just one catch for 11 yards in Green Bay's 24-13 win.

In fact, Carter probably isn't looking forward to his trip north. In 11 trips to Lambeau, Carter has been on the winning end just three times.

Cris Carter Career Highlights:

PRO BOWLS: Was voted to the Pro Bowl eight straight seasons (1993-2000), including two as a starter (1994, 1997).

TEAM'S LEADING RECEIVER: Led Vikings in receptions ten times (1991-00), receiving yards on five occasions (1991-95) and in receiving touchdowns seven times (1992-97, 1999). All three figures are team records.

NFL'S LEADING RECEIVER: Has led NFL in receptions once (1994) and in receiving touchdowns on three occasions (1995, 1997, 1999), which are tied for third-most in NFL history.

AMONG NFL'S ALL-TIME LEADING RECEIVERS: Ranks second in NFL annals in both receptions (1,093) and receiving touchdowns (129), trailing Oakland's Jerry Rice in both categories. Stands in third spot in receiving yards, behind Rice and former Packer James Lofton.

100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES: Has accumulated 44 100-yard receiving games, including 42 in the regular season and two in the playoffs. He has put together four straight such games once (games 8-11 of 1999) and three on one occasion (games 6-8 of 2000). He has had consecutive 100-yard receiving games seven other times. He had a career-high seven 100-yard receiving performances (including one in playoffs) in 2000. He also tallied five in 1994, 1995 and 1999. He most recently had consecutive 100-yard receiving games in weeks 10-11 of 2000 (11-119, 1 TD vs. Arizona, 11/12; 8-138, 1 TD vs. Carolina, 11/19).

1,000-YARD SEASONS: Has amassed eight 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his career (1993-2000), tied for third-most in NFL history, trailing only Jerry Rice (13) and Tim Brown (9).

VIKINGS RECORDS: Holds every major Vikings career receiving record including receptions (1,004), receiving yards (12,383), receiving touchdowns (110) and consecutive games with a reception (111). Holds single-season marks for receptions (122 in both 1994 and 1995) and touchdowns (17 in 1995, tied). His 122 catches in 1994 was an NFL record at the time and now are tied for second in league history along with his 122 receptions the following year and Jerry Rice's 122 in 1995. They trail only Herman Moore, who amassed 123 for Detroit in 1995.

DURABILITY: Since missing the final four games of 1992 with a fractured collarbone, went on to start and play in 144 straight regular season games, 156 in a row including playoffs. Those are the only four games he has missed in his NFL career due to injury.

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