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Minnesota Vikings Sign the Pope!* (* - May or may not be "the" Pope)

There's a uniform violation in this picture somewhere. See if you can find it!
(Picture courtesy of

Winter Park has been relatively quiet for most of this past week, but that changed this afternoon with the signing of linebacker Derrick Pope, late of the Miami Dolphins.

Pope actually started nine games for the Dolphins last year. He made those starts at middle linebacker in place of Zach Thomas, who has also departed Miami since the end of the 2007 season (he signed with Dallas). He was fourth on the Dolphins with 57 tackles, and also intercepted two passes.

According to the article about the signing put together by Judd Zulgad, Pope will be attempting to occupy the role that was held by Dontarrious Thomas before he left town for San Francisco on the first day of free agency, that being the primary backup at all 3 linebacker spots and a special teams guy. He'll have to contend with Heath Farwell for both of those positions.

I like this signing a lot. Pope showed last season that he could be a quality linebacker in this league, given the opportunity. With the front seven being one of Minnesota's primary strengths, we can't possibly have enough depth at linebacker, and with our three very solid starters and solid depth with Farwell and Pope, the Vikings now boast a very good, very deep linebacking corps. We can't forget the potential return of Rufus Alexander, either. . .he was last year's 6th round pick out of Oklahoma that tore an ACL in training camp and missed the entire 2007 season.

The bad? Pope only signed a one-year deal, so if he does prove to be a big piece to the Vikings' puzzle in 2008, it will cost big dollars to keep him for 2009 and beyond. But the Beloved Purple can cross that bridge when they get to it.

I'll see if I can't get a bit of a scouting report on Pope from our good friends over at the Phinsider, SBNation's outstanding Miami Dolphins blog, in the next day or two.

Since it's officially Saturday now in the Central time zone (4 minutes into it, to be precise), I can't tell you to finish enjoying your Friday. . .but feel free to start enjoying your Saturday. (-: