Free-Agent Linebacker a Favorite of Safety

Receiver isn't the only position of need for the Vikings. With Chad Greenway's season over, the team is looking at several linebackers, and one current Viking is hoping for an intriguing option.

Linebacker Chad Greenway's 2006 season ended when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the team's preseason opener Monday night.

Following Wednesday morning's practice, the team was working out a half-dozen prospects on a practice field at Minnesota State-Mankato's training camp. They all appeared to be linebacker size and going through typical linebacker agility and speed drills.

Although the team wasn't releasing the names of those that were working out, there is one prospect that would seem to fit the scheme, the need, and bring a family element to the roster – linebacker Jamie Sharper, the brother of safety Darren Sharper.

"I'm trying to get him in. He's great. He's been working out … the last two months. He's in excellent condition. He worked out (last week) for the New England Patriots and they said he looked real good," Sharper said.

Darren said he talked with Jamie Monday night after Greenway's injury. Jamie suffered a staph infection in his knee last November as a member of the Seattle Seahawks and was placed on injured reserve in December, but Darren said Jamie is healthy and ready to play.

"He would fit in good. His weight is like 235, so he can move extremely well. He could probably play two spots, the weak side or the middle. He's a guy that can bring you versatility and experience. He knows what to do," Darren said.

However, Darren said he didn't think Jamie had a workout scheduled with the Vikings. According to the Tampa Tribune, Jamie was also working out on a field adjacent to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice facility Tuesday, but Bucs GM Bruce Allen denied that Jamie was working out for the team.

Jamie signed a five-year, $17.5 million deal, including a $1.5 million signing bonus, with the Seahawks last year, but they released him in March. Previous to 2005, Jamie had started 127 of 128 games, including 121 consecutive games. He played strongside linebacker with the Seahawks.

Before signing with Seattle, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Jacksonville had each shown some interest in him. He was a second-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 1997 and also played with the Houston Texans before signing with the Seahawks.

Prior to joining Seattle, Jamie had more than 1,000 tackles, including 100 or more in six consecutive seasons, along with 25.5 career sacks, 14 forced fumbled, seven fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

Before being injured last season, Sharper started the first eight games of the season, registering 37 tackles and one forced fumble.

"He would love to be here, so hopefully it would work out," Darren said.

Reuniting the two brothers, who played together at Hermitage High School in Richmond, Va., is something Darren would embrace.

"That would be a good cap of our careers. It would be good to play together and it would be even better if we could win the Super Bowl together. He has a ring and hopefully I can get one too, but it would be better if I could get one with him."

MISSING BRETT

Told Brett Favre had called a press conference Wednesday morning, Darren Sharper, a former teammate of Favre's in Green Bay, was asked to speculate if he thought the Packers quarterback was going to retire.

"He's probably going to announce a fishing trip is what he's going to do. He wouldn't announce at this time," Sharper said.

"I hope he stays around. I haven't got an interception off him in a real game."

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