Leber Appears to Leave Foot Injury Behind

Vikings linebacker Ben Leber took it easy in the team's first minicamp, but the last two months the expected starter on the strong side has appeared to be playing at full strength and leaving a foot injury behind, giving the Vikings some probable stability in at least one of the linebacker positions.

The Vikings' early splurge into free agency netted them a new starter at strongside linebacker.

Ben Leber, limited to nine games last season with San Diego because of a foot injury, is considered a good fit for the pass rushing and coverage skills needed in the version of the Cover-2 defense the Vikings will employ.

The Vikings wanted to be cautious with Leber's foot injury early on and limited him during a pre-draft minicamp in April. But he has appeared to be going full speed the past two months.

Other than Leber, the Vikings' linebacker group still has plenty of question marks.

First-round pick Chad Greenway, who like Leber is a native of South Dakota, could end up starting on the weak side if he picks up things quickly. Right now, Leber and E.J. Henderson are the starters at the strong and weak side, respectively.

That leaves Napoleon Harris — a major disappointment after being acquired from Oakland in the Randy Moss trade last year — and Dontarrious Thomas as candidates to start in the middle. If Harris and Thomas struggle, Leber and Greenway could wind up starting on the outside, with Henderson in the middle.

The Vikings don't have nearly as many question marks, or potential changes, on the front and back ends.

The only significant addition to the line is DeQuincy Scott, also a free agent from San Diego. Scott likely will serve as the backup to Erasmus James at right end, taking the place of Lance Johnstone (Oakland).

In the secondary, Tank Williams left Tennessee to take Corey Chavous' place as the starting strong safety. Chavous signed with St. Louis.

The 6-foot-3, 223-pound Williams, whose 2004 season was cut short after nine starts when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, was third on the Titans with 83 tackles last season and will provide a hard-hitting presence in the secondary.

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