Vikings agree to terms with LB Harris

The Vikings were aggressive in bringing linebacker Napoleon Harris to town Wednesday and had agreed on a one-year contract less than 12 hours after his arrival for a physical.

The Vikings agreed to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday with linebacker Napoleon Harris. The resulting roster move hasn't yet been announced by the Vikings.

With E.J. Henderson lost for the season with a foot injury, his backup, David Herron, missing practice Wednesday with a hip injury, and another reserve linebacker, Erin Henderson, missing practice with a knee injury, the need for reinforcements at the position was pronounced.

On Monday, the Vikings signed Dontarrious Thomas, another former Viking who could end up starting at middle linebacker in place of Herron on Sunday in Chicago.

Harris was part of the March 2005 trade in which the Vikings acquired the seventh overall pick (used to take WR Troy Williamson) and a seventh-round pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for WR Randy Moss.

Harris was the Vikings' starting linebacker in 2006, Brad Childress' first year as head coach and the team's first year employing the Tampa-2 defense. At the time, Mike Tomlin was the defensive coordinator and Harris had 59 tackles in 14 starts. In 2007, Leslie Frazier took over as defensive coordinator, but Minnesota still runs the Tampa-2 defense.

Harris signed a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007 and started 13 games, recording 113 tackles. He didn't play for the Chiefs at all this year and was cut last week after Kansas City was unable to trade him.

Vikings coach Brad Childress expected a quick recall of Minnesota's defense for Harris, citing his Northwestern education. Harris completed his college career ranked 11th on Northwestern's all-time tackles list with 334 and was All-Big Ten as a senior after starting all 11 games at defensive end after moving from outside linebacker and ranked fourth on team in tackles with 78.

Harris is a Chicago native and, if he's active on Sunday, he will travel to his hometown for Sunday's game against the Bears.


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