Derrick Pope Visiting with Vikings Today

Linebacker Derrick Pope started nine games for the Dolphins in 2007, stepping in for Zach Thomas. Now he may be taking that experience and his leadership on special teams to Minnesota as he talks things over with the Vikings during a team visit on Wednesday. has learned from a league source that unrestricted free agent Derrick Pope is in Minnesota all day today and Thursday to visit with the Vikings.

Minnesota's invitation doesn't come as a huge surprise, as we previously reported in this insider's feature on February 29 that the team was among four NFL clubs that had expressed some early interest in the veteran linebacker. Current Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Speilman drafted Pope in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft out of the University of Alabama while Speilman was selecting players for the Miami Dolphins.

The inside linebacker had been the primary backup to Zach Thomas but started nine games in 2007 as injuries took their toll on Thomas. Pope made 57 tackles, including 38 solo efforts, picked off two passes, defended three passes and recovered a fumble. During the final four weeks of the season, he averaged just over 7 tackles per game.

The added value that he brings to an NFL team is his special teams prowess. During his four seasons in Miami, Pope made 27 special teams tackles, putting him in a first-place tie in that category over that time period.

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