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Updated: June 15th, 2010 11:02am
Vikings sign free-agent RB Ryan Moats

Vikings sign free-agent RB Ryan Moats

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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In a rather surprising move, the Minnesota Vikings have signed free-agent running back Ryan Moats, according to the team's Web site.

Moats, 27, was released earlier this month by the Houston Texans, for whom he played the past two seasons and rushed for a career-high 390 yards in 2009. He was selected in the third round of the 2005 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles when Vikings coach Brad Childress was the offensive coordinator there.

The Vikings have a Pro Bowl starter in Adrian Peterson and used a second-round draft pick in April on Toby Gerhart, who is expected to be Peterson's top backup. Second-year pro Albert Young worked ahead of Gerhart during this past weekend's minicamp and thus is the favorite for the No. 3 job. But apparently, Moats will get a look as well.

If the signing is meant to send a message to Peterson, who upset Childress by skipping minicamp, it's not much of one. In four NFL seasons -- he missed 2007 with a fractured fibula, ending his stint in Philadelphia -- Moats (5-foot-8, 210 pounds) has rushed for 831 yards and eight touchdowns on 204 carries.

The Vikings cut another halfback, James Johnson, on Monday and now have six on the roster: Peterson, Gerhart, Young, Moats, Ian Johnson and Darius Reynaud.

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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