Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Vikings attempt to add backfield depth by signing Hilliard

Posted by: under Vikings Updated: March 19, 2012 - 12:51 PM

In an effort to bolster their depth at running back, the Vikings agreed to a deal with free agent running back Lex Hilliard on Sunday.

Hilliard, a sixth-round draft pick by the Dolphins in 2008, was due to be a restricted free agent last week. But Miami declined to place a tender on him, allowing him to hit the open market. The Vikings swooped in Sunday to sign Hilliard. The 5-foot-11-inch, 240-pound pack carried the ball 16 times for Miami last season netting 41 yards with a 1-yard scoring run in a Week 4 loss to the Chargers.

During his college career at Montana, Hilliard rushed for 4,016 yards and 50 touchdowns while playing in the Football Championship Subdivision. A Sports Illustrated scouting analysis on Hilliard before the '08 draft read as follows:

Hilliard is a nice-sized ball-carrier who competes hard and does the little things well. Strong at the point, he lacks the speed and creativity to be a feature runner, yet he offers possibilities as a short-yardage specialist and could develop into a lead blocker.


Hilliard spent the 2008 season on the Dolphins' practice squad and in the subsequent three seasons was used sparingly as a ball carrier, employed more often in a fullback's role.


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