Vikings Sign Pope, DE Visiting

The Vikings signed a linebacker they had shown an interest in since the outset of free agency and have a defensive end in for a visit, according to the team's web site.

The Vikings signed linebacker Derrick Pope on Friday. Pope visited the Vikings earlier this week, as first reported, and was with the Dolphins when current Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman was a part of that organization's front office.

Spielman drafted Pope in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft out of the University of Alabama while Spielman was selecting players for the Miami Dolphins.

Filling in for an injured Zach Thomas at middle linebacker last season, Pope had 64 tackles and two interceptions, both career bests for him. He started nine games for the Dolphins in 2007.

The added value that he brings to the Vikings is his special teams prowess. During his four seasons in Miami, Pope made 27 special teams tackles, putting him in a first-place tie in that category over that time period.

In his four-year career, he has amassed 147 defensive tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.

During his collegiate career at Alabama, he had 149 tackles in 55 games and was named first-team SEC as a senior. In 55 games in the NFL, he has 14 starts.

He likely will compete with Vinny Ciurciu for being the primary backup to E.J. Henderson at middle linebacker. Pope might also find himself competing for a backup role with Heath Farwell as an outside linebacker, but Pope, Farwell and Ciurciu are all valuable special teams contributors as well.

  • The Vikings are also visiting with defensive end James Hall, according to the team web site. The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Hall played his first seven seasons with the Detroit Lions and last year with the St. Louis Rams. In his eight NFL seasons, he has 327 tackles and 35.5 sacks.

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