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Updated: November 16th, 2011 12:09pm
Benny Sapp re-signs with Vikings: 'I ain't got nothing to lose'

Benny Sapp re-signs with Vikings: 'I ain't got nothing to lose'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Benny Sapp is back with the Minnesota Vikings.

The veteran cornerback passed a physical and re-signed with the team late Wednesday morning, roughly 15 months after the Vikings traded him away.

"It was kind of shocking a little bit," Sapp said. "Once you leave a place, you kind of feel like you did something wrong or you put yourself in a certain situation where you will probably never see that situation again. For the situation to come up, it's an honor."

Sapp takes the roster spot of Antoine Winfield, who was scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a broken collarbone on Wednesday afternoon and was placed on injured reserve.

Coach Leslie Frazier said Sapp could play in Sunday's game against Oakland depending how he performs this week in practice.

"We're thin right now," Frazier said. "To lose Antoine is a big blow."

Sapp, 30, has been out of a job since the Miami Dolphins -- who acquired him in a trade for receiver Greg Camarillo in August 2010 -- cut him after a brutal Week 1 performance against New England.

"At that point, I probably was at my lowest of my career, the feeling-wise," Sapp said. "I just never lost the feeling that I still can play a little bit. But that big feeling of me not capable of coming back to the game or whatever was there. But in the long run, I'm here now and I ain't got nothing to lose."

Sapp acknowledged he had doubts about whether he'd play again, considering no teams called after his release, and became "a couch potato a little bit" after a month or so. But his mother told him she was praying for him to get another chance, and his family loves Minnesota.

"They were just so happy when they found out the news," Sapp said. "Hopefully, I can make this finish thing of my career pretty good."

Sapp knows Frazier's defense, having played in 30 games (11 starts) with the Vikings in 2008 and '09.

The most likely plan in the short-term is to start Cedric Griffin and Asher Allen, with Sapp taking over nickel duties when he's deemed ready. Marcus Sherels also figures to get some time, Frazier said, and the coaching staff also will determine if rookie Brandon Burton could play a role.

It's a far different group than the group Frazier envisioned -- Winfield, Griffin and Chris Cook -- entering the season. Winfield missed four games with a neck strain before the collarbone injury, Griffin's play has diminished after two knee reconstructions and Cook is on paid leave while awaiting trial on a felony domestic assault charge.

"But the good thing is we've got some guys with some good attitudes who are back there working hard," Frazier said. "We're a little thinner than we'd like to be right now. But we're going to battle. The Raiders have some very good receivers, some fast receivers, and we've got to find a way to slow them down."

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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