Vikings to sign halfback Lorenzo Booker, use him on third downs
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- With their top two halfbacks battling injuries, the Minnesota Vikings on Monday finalized a contract with Lorenzo Booker, who was among the leading rushers in the United Football League this fall.
"I'm hoping that he can help us now and on third-down situations," interim coach Leslie Frazier said. "I think he can be a plus for us. He's done a good job over in the UFL, making some plays, and we're going to try to see where we can utilize him during this season."
Frazier said a final decision had not been reached on a corresponding move to make room for Booker on the Vikings' 53-man roster. Starter Adrian Peterson (ankle) came out of Sunday's win over Buffalo "in pretty good shape," while backup Toby Gerhart tweaked a hamstring, leaving No. 3 halfback Albert Young -- active for only the third time all season -- to finish the game.
Booker, 26, has played 17 games over parts of two NFL seasons with Miami (2007) and Philadelphia (2008), rushing for 178 yards on 48 carries (3.7 average) and catching 34 passes for 248 yards.
He worked out for the Vikings last month, but the team reportedly balked at paying the UFL's $150,000 transfer fee, which since has been reduced to $25,000 with the option for players to personally pay it. Booker sat out the Hartford Colonials' season finale in protest of the fee and subsequently was suspended.
"I really had the mind-set it was only a matter of time before I would be on an NFL roster again," Booker said in a statement on the UFL's Web site. "I am really excited. I am going to have to make sure I don't get too hyped up during that first game back out there."
In seven games with the Colonials, Booker led the UFL with a 5.4-yard rushing average and ranked fourth with 410 rushing yards and 650 yards from scrimmage.