Sharper, 30, who had refused the Packers' attempt to cut his pay to $2 million, quickly signed with Green Bay's archrival, the Vikings. The move turned out to be one of Minnesota's best in the offseason makeover of its defense.
Sharper is among the NFL leaders with nine interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and was elected to the NFC Pro Bowl roster for the third time in his nine-year career. Not bad for a guy whom many thought was at the end of his career after playing through a knee injury for much of last season.
"It is a little bit of gratification because of the fact that you come to a new team," said Sharper, whose fourth-quarter interception Sunday against Baltimore tied his career high. "The team that you left might have thought you were headed downhill. But I always believed and knew that if I made it through a season or played the majority of the season, I would have the opportunity to put up numbers that would categorize into a Pro Bowl nomination.
"It is just a blessing to play around a team that has so much talent that allows me to do what I do. Also the Minnesota Vikings organization that brought me in, and believe that I could continue to play at a high level."
Sharper, who signed a four-year contract, is one interception away from the Vikings' single-season record of 10 held by Paul Krause. He already has set a Vikings record with 267 interception return yards, despite missing two games because of a knee injury early in the season.
"I think his numbers speak for themselves," coach Mike Tice said of Sharper. "He has done a great job for us once he picked up the system. He has played so much faster. His communication out there on the field is excellent right now."
Said Sharper: "I pretty much silenced the critics by proving that I can still play at a top level. I feel that I can do this for years to come because of how I feel and how my body feels. But it is just as gratifying as the first time that I went because of all the things that were thought to be about me as a player at this point in my career."