Linebacker David Herron, who spent parts of the 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Vikings, returned Friday when the team signed him to take the place of injured linebacker Mark Washington.

Washington, who hurt a shoulder in last week's preseason victory at Seattle, was released.

Herron had only 15 tackles in 16 games during his first Vikings' stint. He's better known as being a pawn in the early stages of what became a recurring feud between former Vikings coach Brad Childress and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Shortly before the 2007 season began, Childress made a waiver claim for tight end Garrett Mills. Belichick called Childress and asked him to drop the claim so the Patriots could move Mills to their practice squad. Belichick said he wouldn't claim any Vikings that were released. Childress not only rejected the offer, he went public with his conversation with Belichick and Belichick's reaction when Childress told him no.

"Belichick didn't really care for that," Childress said at the time. "He was trying to leverage, but you always find out who is honest and straightforward."

Belichick retaliated by claiming Herron, whom the Vikings released with hopes of adding him to their practice squad. The Patriots ended up releasing Herron quickly; he re-signed with the Vikings and played two games in 2007.

Herron, 27, started three games in 2008 when E.J. Henderson was injured. Herron spent 2009 with Kansas City and 2010 with San Diego. Herron signed with the Jets on Aug. 8 but was released four days later.

He gives the Vikings some depth at an injury-depleted position. Heath Farwell (hamstring), Jasper Brinkley (hip) and rookie Ross Homan (concussion) all missed practices this week.

Lito shuffles to Oakland

The Raiders signed former Vikings cornerback Lito Sheppard. Sheppard, 30, spent last season with the Vikings. He played in 13 games with two starts.