The Vikings spent time Sunday with former Packers wide receiver Robert Ferguson, who was released by Green Bay last week.
Ferguson attended the Vikings’ practice Sunday afternoon on the sidelines and spent time afterwards with wide receivers coach George Stewart and the quarterbacks. Vikings coach Brad Childress said he talked with Ferguson before practice.
The Vikings and Houston Texans are thought to be the leading candidates for Ferguson’s services and, while former Packers coach Mike Sherman is now coaching in Houston, which is also Ferguson’s hometown, the Vikings also have a number of connections. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay during Ferguson’s time there, and safety Darren Sharper was also a teammate of Ferguson’s.
“Bev has a pretty good feel for him from his days in Green Bay, and many of our scouts (evaluated) him when he was coming out,” Childress said. “I’ve never had a chance to sit down with him eyeball to eyeball, so I enjoyed our conversation this afternoon,” Childress said.
Ferguson started the Packers’ 2006 season as the team’s No. 3 receiver but suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 4. He caught only five passes for 31 yards.
The seventh-year receiver had a breakout season in 2003, when he started 12 games, caught 38 passes for 520 yards and four touchdowns. After not having a catch in his rookie season, the 6-foot-1, 219-pounder had four consecutive seasons in which he caught more than 20 passes and had 290 yards or more.
For his career, he has started 26 games, caught 116 passes for 1,577 yards and 12 TDs.
Vikings coach Brad Childress said the team was putting Ferguson through a physical Sunday, and safety Darren Sharper, who was a teammate of Ferguson’s from 2001 to 2004, said Ferguson was in a similar situation as Sharper when he joined the Vikings – “you want to play those guys twice a year, that type of attitude,” Sharper said.
“He’s a proven player in this league, so you don’t have to sell hope to anyone (with the Vikings),” Sharper said. “I know when Ferg was healthy, he was a top-three receiver for any team.
“(He’s) a veteran, a veteran guy that has been in the fire and he brings that experience. He’s made plays in this league. Whenever you can add guys that can do that and are proven to do that, it always can help you.”
Sharper downplayed Ferguson’s injury history, calling him a tough player. Besides his foot injury in 2006, Ferguson missed five games with a knee injury in 2005, three games with a head/neck injury in 2004, and his rookie season was limited with a back problem.
“The thing is, the guy is only 27 years of age – he hasn’t even hit his prime yet,” Sharper said.
If the Vikings sign him, he would be the most experienced receiver on the team.