The Vikings officially announced the signing of running back Lorenzo Booker on Tuesday afternoon and cleared a spot for him on the 53-man roster by making a roster move with running back Albert Young. Young was waived/injured by the Vikings, meaning he will go on the injured reserve list once he clears waivers.
Booker, a third-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2007, spent this season with Hartford of the United Football League. The move came a few weeks after the Vikings put Booker through a workout and days after the UFL, lowered its transfer fee for players under contract from $150,000 to $25,000.
Coach Leslie Frazier said Monday that he is hoping Booker can help the Vikings as a third-down back. Booker was traded by the Dolphins to the Eagles in 2008 for a fourth-round pick in that year's draft and rushed for 53 yards on 20 carries. The Eagles waived him in September 2009.
Booker led the UFL at 5.4 yards per carry this past season and finished fourth with 410 rushing yards and was fifth overall with 650 all-purpose yards in seven games. He made news by boycotting the team's final game last month to protest the league's higher transfer fee.
Young was signed by the Vikings as a rookie free agent out of Iowa in 2008 and spent that season on the practice squad. He played in seven games last season, rushing for 53 yards on 12 carries. With Chester Taylor having signed as a free agent with Chicago last March, there was some thought that Young could compete with rookie Toby Gerhart for the third-down role.
But Young played in only his third game of the season on Sunday and tied his career-high with 10 carries for 27 yards as Adrian Peterson and Gerhart were rested for much of the fourth quarter with the Vikings having a big lead on Buffalo. Young gained 29 yards on 13 rushing attempts this season and caught two passes for 11 yards.
The Vikings also made a move on their practice squad, waiving recently signed center Adrian Martinez and signing quarterback R.J. Archer. Archer was with the Vikings during their offseason program. Adding a quarterback to the practice squad could have been done because Brett Favre is dealing with a sprained throwing shoulder and Joe Webb, the team's third quarterback, has a pulled hamstring.
Archer, who played college football at William & Mary, was waived by the Vikings in late June. The move was made in part because the Vikings decided to keep Webb at quarterback and not convert him to wide receiver. Archer, meanwhile, had spent his first two seasons in college at receiver before being converted back to quarterback as a junior in 2008.
A native of Charlottesville, Va., Archer was a three-year starter at quarterback in high school but 2009 marked his only full one as a starter at the position in college. Archer ended the season ranked second in the Colonial Athletic Association with 198.4 passing yards per game and was named second-team all-conference.
One of his best performances came at second-ranked Villanova when he threw for 354 yards and tied a single-game school record with 35 completions. He finished the season having completed 261 of 433 passes for 2,778 yards and 16 touchdowns, while rushing for 255 yards (on 100 attempts) and five touchdowns.
He ran a 4.67 in the 40-yard dash during William & Mary's Pro Day this past March. Archer has spent this spring pitching for William & Mary's baseball team. Archer was a baseball standout in high school but did not play the sport in college until last season.
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