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Updated: April 21st, 2010 6:00pm
Vikings sign Lito Sheppard to 1-year deal

Vikings sign Lito Sheppard to 1-year deal

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Well, that didn't take long.

The Minnesota Vikings announced minutes ago they have signed veteran cornerback Lito Sheppard. The Web site ProFootballTalk.com, which reported earlier today that Sheppard was visiting the Vikings, said it's a one-year, $2 million deal.

"Lito is a great guy who fits what we are looking for," Vikings coach Brad Childress said in a statement on the team's Web site. "He's the type of person and player we value at the cornerback position. Coach (Leslie) Frazier and I have seen him up close and personal and we know what he can bring to our team on and off the field. We look forward to him being a Viking."

It's a significant move one day before the NFL Draft at a position the Vikings needed to address. However, it doesn't mean the Vikings no longer will be interested in cornerbacks -- perhaps even as soon as the No. 30 overall pick on Thursday night.

Sheppard has declined the past three years, is 29 and never has been durable. The reported duration and compensation of his contract suggests the Vikings see him as a Band-Aid at a position where one starter (Antoine Winfield) is in his 30s and the other (Cedric Griffin) will be only six months removed from ACL reconstruction when training camp opens in July.

Released by the New York Jets last month, Sheppard technically is a street free agent, as were kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd and end Michael Montgomery. So, the Vikings still have not signed an unrestricted free agent.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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