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Vikings sign ex-Packers safety Sharper

MINNEAPOLIS (March 12, 2005) -- The Minnesota Vikings signed veteran safety Darren Sharper to a four-year contract.

Sharper, cut by the Green Bay Packers in a cost-cutting move earlier this week, started at free safety the past six seasons and ranks fifth in team history with 36 interceptions. He led the team with four interceptions last year and scored three defensive touchdowns.

"Darren is very excited to be going to Minnesota," agent Joel Segal told The Associated Press.

The Packers tried to get Sharper to restructure his deal, but he balked at a pay cut, hoping he could make more on the open market.

The Vikings were only too happy to have him fall into their laps.

"He's a great playmaker and has been a nemesis of ours for years," Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski said. "He's an outstanding leader and will be a tremendous addition to our defense."

Segal would not comment on the terms of the deal, saying only Sharper received "a significant signing bonus."

The signing was the latest move in a busy week for the Vikings, who also signed cornerback Fred Smoot to a six-year deal and re-signed tight end Jermaine Wiggins.

Free-agent receiver Plaxico Burress also visited the Vikings this week, but left without a contract. While Brzezinski didn't rule out resuming negotiations with Burress, he said the Vikings have no immediate plans to bring in any more free agents.

"We have significantly upgraded our football team this week," Brzezinski said. "Now we'll start turning our attention toward the draft."

AP NEWS
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