Ex-Packer Ferguson works out with Vikings

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 20, 2007 - 12:36 AM

Robert Ferguson is a candidate to bolster the Vikings' inexperienced receiving corps.

The Vikings' largely inexperienced receiving corps could be getting a veteran addition.

Robert Ferguson, who was released by Green Bay on Friday, worked out for the Vikings on Sunday and then was scheduled to board a plane for Houston to visit the Texans. Ferguson, 27, also was given a physical by Vikings doctors, who undoubtedly want to make sure the oft-injured player is healthy.

Ferguson's agent, Brian Overstreet, said late Sunday that the Vikings had not extended an offer to his client but that he expects to talk to the team today. Overstreet had preliminary contract talks with the Vikings earlier Sunday but made it clear nothing was imminent.

"We're not to that stage yet," Overstreet said, adding that something, most likely with Houston or the Vikings, would get done "within the next day or so."

Vikings coach Brad Childress was among the team officials who watched Ferguson catch passes from Tyler Thigpen in the indoor facility at Winter Park. Childress said he had talked to offensive coordinator and former Packers assistant Darrell Bevell about Ferguson and then had an opportunity to speak to the receiver.

"It's a good idea" to take a look at Ferguson, receiver Bobby Wade said. "He's a developed receiver, he has played in some big games, he knows what it is like to compete. Especially when you have a young corps, the more of those guys you can have the better."

Ferguson, who watched the Vikings go through their workout Sunday from the sideline, had fallen behind at least five receivers on the Packers' depth chart. The team tried to trade him but was unsuccessful because he was due to make a $1.8 million base salary in the fourth year of a five-year, $13 million contract.

A second-round pick by the Packers in 2001, Ferguson has battled injuries throughout his career. He has missed 36 of a possible 96 regular-season games and was sidelined for 12 last season because of a foot sprain. He did not miss a scheduled practice in training camp, but the Packers did not let him practice twice a day, per their policy on players coming back from injury.

Ferguson had 116 receptions for 1,577 yards and 12 touchdowns in six seasons; he also had a 22.6-yard kickoff return average.

"I was surprised" they released him, said Vikings safety Darren Sharper, another former Packer. "I know when healthy Ferg is a top-three receiver for any team. ... I would love to have him as a teammate."

If Ferguson signed, he would have a good chance to make a quick climb up a depth chart that features Wade and Troy Williamson at the top. The fact Ferguson already played in the West Coast offense makes him all the more attractive.

Ferguson's choice might be Houston because he's from the city and Texans assistant head coach Mike Sherman is the one who pushed to draft Ferguson when he was head coach in Green Bay. Sharper, though, talked to Ferguson and got the impression he might want to stay in the NFC North.

"He has the same feeling I did [after leaving Green Bay]," Sharper said. "You want to play those guys twice a year."


• Defensive tackle Fred Evans continues to finalize a plea agreement in Miami-Dade (Fla.) County court and did not return for Sunday's practice. Evans, who reached the agreement Thursday, also missed Friday's preseason game against the Jets.

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