Vikings Sign Former Gopher

The Vikings signed former Gophers WR Paris Hamilton Monday. See what the receiver had to say about the short notice and his opportunity, and get notes from Monday afternoon's practice.

Vikings coach Brad Childress remembers when reporters were asking him about how many wide receivers were on his roster during the 2006 offseason. This year, the team came to camp with 11 receivers, but injuries have significantly cut into those numbers.

Billy McMullen started training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list and remains there. Fifth-round pick Aundrae Allison has been out a few days with a sore hamstring, and that's been the same story with second-round pick Sidney Rice. Troy Williamson returned to practice Monday after missing time with an infection in his arm.

The lack of numbers were evident this weekend in a practice against the Kansas City Chiefs, when Childress said he only had five healthy wide receivers, so Monday the Vikings signed former University of Minnesota Gophers receiver Paris Hamilton.

"I had to leave my house at about 4:30 or 5 o'clock (this morning)," said Hamilton, who received the good news of his new employment at about midnight after returning from a bowling alley in his hometown of Houston, Tex. "I was at the airport at 6 and got on the flight. Short night, but I'll make sure I get some sleep tonight. I was all smiles. I was just happy they brought me back and I'll just try to make the best out of this opportunity."

Hamilton made it back in time for the Vikings' special teams practice that started at 2:15 p.m. Monday, jogging onto the field as the team was stretching. After a brief stretch, he jogged over and shook hands with wide receivers coach George Stewart and proceeded to give Childress a hearty handshake on his way to joining teammates and starting the process of learning the Vikings' ways all over again.

"I can return kicks. When I was in Detroit, I was on kickoff team and punt team. So I can contribute on special teams or wherever," Hamilton said.

Wide receivers Bobby Wade and Chandler Williams were the ones fielding kickoffs during the afternoon practice, but Hamilton could see a role in Friday night's preseason opener against the St. Louis Rams with the amount of receivers the Vikings have had standing on the sidelines with injuries.

Hamilton was supposed to start his new job as a personal trainer at a 24-hour fitness shop in Houston on Tuesday or Wednesday, but his career path was happily reverted to the NFL.

The former Gopher started his professional career with the Lions, who signed him as a rookie free agent following the 2005 draft. He was released before the first regular-season game that year. In 2006, he returned to the Lions, but again was released before the regular season began.

This offseason he signed with the Vikings, who released him in mid-June but apparently told him they'd likely look to re-sign him if they needed a receiver.

"I pretty much remember all of the stuff because I wrote it all down in my little notepad, and I have my notepad at home. Every now and then, I'll sit down and just look over the stuff because (VP of player personnel Rick) Spielman told me they were going to bring me back," Hamilton said.

"My agent (Chris Murray) had been keeping in close contact with them and telling me to just keep in shape because whenever I get that call I don't want to be a bust – be out of shape and they'd send me right back home. I work out every day, try to eat right, try to run so I can stay in shape."

Hamilton was a prize junior college recruit by former Minnesota Gophers coach Glen Mason, but a knee injury virtually wiped out Hamilton's career with the Gophers.

Listed at just more than 6 feet tall and 195 pounds coming out of college, he ran the 40 in 4.37-4.54 and recorded a 32-inch vertical jump.

"He has some size, speed and run-after-the-catch ability, all favorable characteristics for the West Coast Offense," wrote about him coming out of college.

Now, thanks to the misfortune (and hamstrings of others), he's getting another chance in the Vikings' West Coast Offense.

"Guys are going to get hurt and they're going to look for somebody to bring in so they can step up," he said.


  • In order to make room for Hamilton, the Vikings placed offensive lineman Dan Mozes on waived/injured after an ACL injury had him getting carted off the field on Friday night in a workout against the Chiefs. He'll likely clear waivers and end up on the Vikings' injured-reserve list.

  • Running back Mewelde Moore missed both practices Monday, as he returned to the Twin Cities for the birth of his first child. Childress said he found out Moore's wife, Tymeka, going into labor about midnight and told Moore to drive safely up Highway 169, which was the roadway for Koren Robinson's infamous arrest during 2006 training camp.

  • Childress said linebacker Ben Leber (calf) might be ready to return to action Tuesday.

  • Childress said he was giving Jason Glenn the day off to rest his knee. Glenn has been recovering from a torn ACL that landed him on injured reserve last year, but, according to Childress, Glenn and Leber have been hard to hold out of practice.

  • Alex Reyes did some kicking off in the special teams practice and landed most of his efforts between the 5-yard line and goal line. He put one 2 yards deep into the end zone. However, with Chris Kluwe punting well of late, Reyes would seem to be a distant second in the punter race … for now, at least.

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