Jefferson savors new opportunity with Vikings

  • Article by: CHRIS MILLER and DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: September 3, 2012 - 8:52 PM

A.J. Jefferson, a third-year cornerback picked up by the Vikings on Friday from Arizona for a conditional 2013 draft pick, started seven games for the Cardinals last season before "it got a little rough for me," but said he was looking forward to a new beginning.

Photo: Paul Connors, Associated Press

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A.J. Jefferson was one of the last men off the field at Vikings practice Monday.

A third-year cornerback picked up on Friday from Arizona for a conditional 2013 draft pick, Jefferson started seven games for the Cardinals last season before "it got a little rough for me," but said he was looking forward to a new beginning.

"It should be an easy transition," he said. "Football is football wherever you go. Terminology is a little different, playbook's a little different, that's about it."

Jefferson, a 24-year-old who was undrafted out of Fresno State in 2010, said cuts were due at 6 p.m. Friday in Arizona. When that time passed, "I thought I was good, but then I got a call about 7. We were pretty stacked at corner, so we knew we were going to have to do something, but I was pretty surprised it happened."

Jefferson returned punts during a portion of Monday's practice, although Marcus Sherels is likely to have that duty Sunday.

Said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier: "A.J. has the ability to cover man and also play some zone coverage, good press corner, but he can also play off. He's a willing tackler, we like that part of his game."

End of a journey

McLeod Bethel-Thompson made the Vikings as the No. 3 quarterback when veteran Sage Rosenfels was waived on Friday.

"His command is one thing that really got all of our attention," Frazier said of Bethel-Thompson. "Going all the way back to OTAs and doing the things that we did back in April, he has some confidence and some swagger about him."

Bethel-Thompson started 2011 playing in the Arena League, was with San Francisco in the preseason, played for Denny Green and the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL, then was on Miami's practice squad before the Vikings signed him in January.

"My journey was kind of a wild one," he said. "But I'm excited to get that No 3 spot."

Bethel-Thompson waited out the cuts in the team hotel Friday. When he didn't get a call, he figured he had made the team ... although he also had to get through Saturday as the team made more moves.

"No news was good news," he said. "When they don't call you in to cut you, that's good."

Next? "My first goal is to rent a car so I have some way to get around," he joked. And, because he's not yet 25, "I have to pay that extra fee."

Practice squad set

The Vikings filled out their eight-man practice squad, which includes running back Jordan Todman, cornerback Bobby Felder, defensive tackle Chase Baker, offensive linemen Kevin Murphy and Tyler Holmes and defensive lineman Ernest Owusu. All of those players were in training camp with the team.

The two outsiders brought in were receivers Tori Gurley and Chris Summers. Gurley had been with the Packers since the summer of 2011. And late last season, he turned down an opportunity to join the Vikings' active roster, believing he had a better situation on the Green Bay practice squad. The Packers gave him a salary bump late last season for his loyalty, but they didn't have a spot for him on their 53-man roster this season, opening the door for the Vikings to court him again.

Summers, a rookie out of Liberty, was waived by the Bears over the weekend.

Etc.

• Cornerback Josh Robinson (concussion) was back at practice Monday. Three players with ankle injuries -- defensive back Andrew Sendejo, cornerback Marcus Sherels and wideout Jarius Wright -- also practiced and are likely to be ready Sunday. Linebacker Marvin Mitchell, who has a high ankle sprain, is less likely.

• Offensive tackle DeMarcus Love (torn pectoral) faces surgery, Frazier said.

• Frazier wouldn't say whether Mistral Raymond or Jamarca Sanford would start opposite Harrison Smith at safety on Sunday, nor would he tip his hand as to whether Percy Harvin would return kickoffs.

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