The Jersey Numbering Game

Several Vikings veterans have been switching jersey numbers over the last couple of months, but it appears the veterans and rookies are now settling into their proper numbers for the season.

As the Vikings prepare for the second minicamp of the offseason – their first full-team camp following the draft – there are plenty of changes to note in the jersey department.

No. 11 – quarterback Daunte Culpepper's jersey number with the Vikings before being shipped south to Miami – was missing in the April minicamp, but the team has assigned that number to undrafted rookie wide receiver Jason Carter of Texas A&M.

Likewise, there wasn't a No. 23 last month, with former Vikings running back Michael Bennett allowed to investigate other teams as a free agent. Bennett was signed by the New Orleans Saints, who are now looking into trade possibilities with him since drafting former USC standout Reggie Bush with the second overall pick in the draft. Vikings second-round draft pick Cedric Griffin, a defensive back from Texas, will be wearing No. 23 for the Vikings now.

Staying with the running back theme, the Vikings recently released Onterrio Smith, who will be suspended from playing in the NFL until at least October and could join a CFL team in the coming days. His old No. 32 now will be donned by Taurean Henderson, a shifty undrafted running back from Texas Tech.

Richard Owens, who moved from tight end to fullback for April's minicamp, also switched from No. 49 last year to No. 33 a month ago. Now he has switched again. Owens will be wearing No. 45 in this weekend's camp, which starts Saturday morning with the first of five practices. No. 45 was previously assigned to tight end T.J. Cottrell, who has since been released.

Offensive lineman Artis Hicks, a fourth-year veteran who was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles in a draft-weekend trade, will be wearing No. 79. Guard Steve Hutchinson, the All-Pro formerly of Seattle, acquired guard Chris Liwienski's No. 76 before April's minicamp and Liwienski is now wearing No. 67.

A few other veterans were also wearing new numbers in April's camp – wide receiver Koren Robinson switching from 18 to 81, wide receiver Troy Williamson switching from 19 to 82 and cornerback Fred Smoot switching from 27 to 21, which was previously worn by safety Corey Chavous, now with the St. Louis Rams.

All the rookie draft picks and free agents have also been assigned jersey numbers. For the full listing of the new jersey numbers, heights, weights and links to the player history pages, visit the roster.

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