MINNEAPOLIS (April 7, 2005) -- Restricted free-agent safety Brian Russell is joining the Cleveland Browns after the Minnesota Vikings decided not to match the Browns' offer. Russell, who started at safety the past two seasons, signed an offer sheet for a two-year contract with the Browns. Minnesota's vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski said the team would not be matching it.
Russell, a former quarterback at Penn who transferred to San Diego State and began his NFL career in 2001 on Minnesota's practice squad, tied for the league lead with nine interceptions in 2003.
He had 81 tackles and an interception last season.
Cleveland has released both of its starting safeties since the end of last season, Robert Griffith and Earl Little. The Vikings, who signed former Green Bay free safety Darren Sharper last month, had tendered Russell the minimum one-year qualifying offer.