Boulware Looking for Fresh Start

Safety Michael Boulware only signed a one-year contract with the Vikings, but he's hoping it's the start of a long-term relationship. See what Boulware had to say about his past and his future expectations.

Michael Boulware only signed a one-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, but already he is talking about the opportunity to prove himself and become a long-term member of a team.

"I want to get the ball rolling again and get back in the right direction," he said. "From what I've seen, the organization is going in the right direction. I don't like moving from team to team. I'd like to be able to stay here if at all possible."

Boulware played three seasons for the Seattle Seahawks after being their second-round draft choice in 2004, but he was traded to Houston before the start of last season.

It turned out to be a frustrating year. He went from thinking he had a chance to compete for a starting spot at safety to quickly realizing he wasn't getting much of a chance at all.

"I got traded to Houston and expected to play and start right away and a guy that I was supposed to play in front of started playing very well right when I got there, won the favor of the coaches and I guess they really didn't give me a shot after that," Boulware said. "He was their guy and I really didn't have an opportunity to compete much for a starting position after that first week."

Even the person he was supposed to be competing with changed in rapid fashion. Originally, he expected to challenge Von Hutchins, but he said he got "stuck" behind C.C. Brown, another safety.

"I was kind of perplexed by that. I wasn't really given an opportunity to beat him out," he said.

Instead, Boulware went from a situation with Seattle where he started 34 games, including playoffs, over a three-year span to not starting a single game with the Houston Texans. The timing couldn't have helped, either, as he was traded for defensive end Jason Babin just before the start of the regular season.

His role last year was mainly playing special teams, where he had six tackles.

Boulware said he didn't really know any of the coaches or players with the Vikings before his visit on Thursday, but a fresh start isn't all bad.

"Basically they're giving me a clean slate, an opportunity to compete. Obviously we have two great safeties in the starting lineup now so that I'll be competing for a backup role and also help out on special teams," he said.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound safety has often been referred to as a player that had a tough time making the transition from playing linebacker at Florida State to safety in the NFL.

In college, he was a three-year starter for the Seminoles, recording 340 tackles (ranking 11th in team history), 3 ½ sacks and 14 tackles-for-loss. He was named third-team All-America by the Associated Press and a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. But his transition wasn't always easy.

"I never felt that Boulware looked comfortable trailing receivers on mid-to-deep routes; he was better off following the run or taking on short passes," says Doug Farrar of "There are schemes in which he can be a factor … but he's far from a bum. He's just a guy who can do a few things very well and has to have things set up around him to succeed. At the very least, you'll get a guy who will play special teams and not complain about it."

Boulware said he played some Cover-2 defense in Seattle but added that it is a little different than how the Vikings employ their base defensive scheme. He echoed what the Vikings have contended the last two years about their safeties being interchangeable, saying that motion dictates how the safeties are used.

No matter how he contributes on defense, he said it's time to put the linebacker-to-safety excuse behind him.

"It was kind of difficult at first. … I definitely think I can compete as a safety and grow and learn, but I can't use the linebacker excuse anymore. That's faded and gone; that's not an issue anymore," he said.

For now, he'll just concentrate on taking advantage of a new opportunity and see if he can re-establish himself as a quality defensive player in Minnesota.


  • Boulware was heading back to Columbia, S.C., after signing with the Vikings and was expecting to start their offseason program on March 31.

  • Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm's visit with the Vikings will take place April 9-10.

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