Davis Back with New Focus

Linebacker Rod Davis returned to the Vikings this week with a different outlook on his career and his role with the team.

Rod Davis is back in purple and this time, he says, he threw away the crystal ball.

The Vikings released Davis, a fifth-round draft choice in 2004, this summer during training camp. He played one game with the Carolina Panthers, then was let go by them. Since linebacker Napoleon Harris is out with a dislocated wrist, the Vikings chose to bolster their depth at the position by bringing back Davis.

Davis could see limited time at linebacker Sunday in San Francisco, but his main responsibility for now is special teams.

"Get it done on special teams," Davis said. "Dontarrious Thomas's role has changed a little bit so I also look at what he's done, but right now I have to get it done on special teams."

Davis played in 14 games as a rookie and made eight tackles. Last season he played all 16 games as a special-teams ace with occasional time on defense and made 13 tackles. He was cut in training camp, he says, because he failed to realize his role.

"You never can look ahead and maybe that's why they released me the first time," Davis said. "Now I know to take it day by day. It's all about what have you done lately."

Davis said the entire experience has helped him stay more focused.

"You never know what's life going to bring," Davis said. "In life you always have to reset and readjust your goals. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I know what I have to do today to get to tomorrow. I have to adjust my goals, but I know my role and I have to work with that."

The differences between his first two regular seasons with the Vikings and now are stark. The team has undergone a roster overhaul, relatively speaking, and of course there is an entire new coaching staff and an entire new defensive scheme

"We went from a 4-3 to a cover-2 and we even trickled in a little 3-4, so it's a lot different," Davis said. "Coach (Mike) Tomlin has everyone thinking about accountability and being responsible for what you do, and that's a great environment to be in – every man has to stand on his own merits and Coach (Brad) Childress and his staff are coaching us well."

Since he missed most of training camp in Carolina because he was in Minnesota, Davis said he never found his niche during his brief tenure with the Panthers.

"When you find a place that's good for you and you're surrounded by good people, you should stay there," Davis said. "I went out to Carolina and I was an outcast. I knew a few people from college years, but it wasn't the same because I didn't know many people. I never knew my role out there. They never told me what position I played. But stuff like that happens."

His teammates are happy to see him back.

"We came here in the same year so it's nice to see him back here," linebacker Dontarrious Thomas said. "It's nice to see an old pal back here, and hopefully he'll be here a while and he'll get a chance to go out and prove that he deserves to be here."

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