Linebacker Dontarrious Thomas opted to sign a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers last year when free agency hit.
It was his first big opportunity to be an unrestricted free agent since the Vikings selected him in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft. About six months after signing that contract, Thomas was released and eventually returned the Vikings when they lost E.J. Henderson for the rest of the season.
Still, Thomas said he his experience last year in free agency wouldn't convince him to change his approach this year, as he reaches free agency again.
"I think I'll still approach it the same way. You've got to just go out and look for the best opportunity. I'll just go out and leave it in the Lord's hands and pray about it," Thomas said.
Thomas was expected to compete for the starting role with Henderson out after four games. As it turned out, he played in just four games and started none, but that doesn't mean he's tuned out the possibility of returning to the Vikings in 2009.
"I thought I would get a chance to at least get some playing time, but things just didn't happen that way. I'm not bitter about it. They gave me an opportunity to play football and be a part of this team. That's all I can be happy about," he said.
"I wouldn't mind (returning to Minnesota). Like I said, they've got a great opportunity. They'll build on something. Next year I see them doing big things. Unfortunately , we didn't make it happen this year. Definitely (I want) to be a part of this team."
Instead of Thomas getting the chance to replace Henderson, the Vikings also signed Napoleon Harris, who ended up starting five of the final 10 games while Thomas was inactive for five of the final 10.
Thomas said he wasn't sure why that decision was, saying it was a question for the coaching staff, but at least the Vikings appreciated his willingness to help out the team at midseason.
"Coach (Brad) Childress thanked me for coming back and being part of the team and I thanked them for the opportunity to bring me back and let me be a part of football and this team in general," Thomas said. "We just kept it like that. I'm looking forward to getting into the offseason and see how things go and leave the business to the business people."
Thomas will stick to football – even after a season in which he didn't register a defensive statistic, according to the team's statistics, and made three special teams tackles – and wait for interest from the NFL decision-makers to determine his future.
"We'll see how it goes. Hopefully, everything works out," he said. "It will be nice to be back. I know they've got something special going on here, so we'll see how it is."
Thomas uncertain with future in free agency
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