Campbell Ready as a Dolphin

Former Vikings wide receiver Kelly Campbell is back in the league with the Miami Dolphins after being released from the Vikings last September and having a run-in with the law. He talked about his time away, his second chance and being reunited with Daunte Culpepper and Keith Newman.

After compiling 1,062 yards receiving in three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, a quadriceps injury and the signing of Koren Robinson last September forced the Vikings to release wide receiver Kelly Campbell.

The popular locker room teammate also returned 40 kickoffs, including 35 in 2004, for a 21.5-yard average.

Campbell, a player who found himself in and out of Mike Tice's doghouse because of his over-the-top personality, was arrested in February 2005 in Atlanta and charged with possession of a stolen handgun and marijuana possession.

According to police records, Campbell passed three cars by going into an oncoming traffic lane and was pulled over by police. The officer claimed a strong smell of marijuana came out of Campbell's 2003 Denali when he lowered the window. A search discovered a handgun that had been reported stolen and 16 grams of marijuana.

Campbell is trying to put that incident and his year out of the NFL in the rear-view mirror and move on with a fresh start in Miami, where he and good friend Daunte Culpepper will try to improve the Dolphins offense.

Campbell talked about his second chance and his days with the Vikings on Thursday in Miami.

On sitting out last season: "It was really tough having to sit out and watching the other guys play on Sunday being a guy that I loved playing football and have the heart for the game. It was real tough having to go through what I went through and now I'm back in the game that I love and am ready to go play."

On being reunited with Daunte: "When I first heard Daunte was coming down here I got real excited because me and Daunte did a lot of good things up in Minnesota, and for me to come down here and bring him down here it's just another opportunity for me to showcase my talents with the Miami Dolphins. I think Daunte's going to do real good for this team. He fits the system, he's a guy who can throw the ball deep, throw it consistently, have good accuracy. I think he'll do well. He did good in Minnesota. I think it's just a new path for Daunte and myself."

On being shocked by Minnesota's downfall last season: "I was kind of shocked because I felt the Vikings had a very good program, a very talented group (and) for whatever reason things didn't get put together. I wasn't there the whole season to see everything play itself out. I thought they had a very good opportunity to win a lot of games, but apparently things turned around for the program and they didn't end up the way they should."

On his goals: "My goal is to become the best player I could be. This is a new start for me. Coach (Nick) Saban is a great coach who gave me an opportunity to come down here; outside the off-the-field issues he gave me another opportunity to come down here and really make the team and try to help the team to win ballgames. So my goal is to come down here be the best player I could be, learn from the veterans like Chris Chambers, some of the best people out there, and play well to help the team win ballgames."

On getting a second chance: "That's what I've been told about Coach Saban. He could deal with guys who have had off-the-field issues — not that I really have off-the-field issues — but he's not one of those coaches that looks at that and harps on that real big. Brings in guys who can play football who can win ballgames for his team. First off, I want to do that for myself. The best thing is having a coach who believes in you, who looks at you in a way as a football player and not a character guy. He makes you want to come in here and not disappoint him, you want to do all you can for him because he gave you the opportunity outside of the other teams who didn't give you the opportunity. You want to come in here and make him happy and that's what I'm going to try to do."

On whether he thinks Culpepper is on a mission: "I really do. He's having a great offseason doing his rehab. I think a lot of people are waiting and seeing what kind of quarterback he's going to be coming from that injury. Is he still going to be able to do the things he used to do? I think he is. He's a big guy who's been here before. He's ready to get back on the field and showcase and show everybody he's back."

On whether he thinks Culpepper can get back to his 2004 form: "I think he's right on target. He's right on target. I think he'll be ready once the season starts. He's been rehabbing every day, getting back into the motion of things. I think he's right on target for being there for the beginning of the season."

On what sets Culpepper apart: "It's amazing to have a quarterback like Daunte. He is a big guy. There's not a lot of guys who can run real good with that much weight on him. But his arm strength is amazing. He does a very good job of throwing the deep ball and as a receiver you can't ask for anything better than that. I love playing with Daunte. I had a great time in Minnesota; now we're just going to bring those times down here."

On whether Keith Newman has something left: "Yeah, Keith Newman I think he does (have something left). He's a very good linebacker, loves to hit. … I believe once you come to a new team you try to outdo everything you did with the last team, so I think everybody's going to do well."

On whether he'll be returning kicks: "I'm looking forward to doing that. That's something I love to do. I love special teams. I love kick returns. That's one of my specialties. Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to be there and show the coaches I can do it, and hopefully I can get the job."

On whether he's looking at winning the No. 3 receiver job or simply making the team: "My goal is not definitely making the roster. That's the first thing you must have to do, but I think I've been in the league long enough and been experienced on the field long enough to show everybody I am capable of being the third receiver that I can help out and that I'm a great player. I feel like I'm a great player, so, no, I'm definitely above making the roster. I've been past that a long time ago. Whatever they want to put me on the field to help the team, that's what I'm going to do."

On whether he feels he's more valuable as a receiver or returner: "Both, but I would rather be a receiver than a return man, because that's what I do best. I could catch, run past defenders, a deep threat, so I'd rather be a receiver before a return man."

Viking Update Top Stories