Secondary key to Minnesota revival

With Brian Russell as the team's new starting free safety, the Vikings secondary has discovered a rebirth.

Updated: October 2, 2003, 11:37 AM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
When the New England Patriots released Lawyer Milloy just days before the season started, the Minnesota Vikings were one of the teams that was immediately interested in signing the safety. It was unusual for a player of Milloy's caliber to be available at that point in the offseason, but what was even more unusual was the Vikings dropping out of the bidding after only one day.

The Vikings had one gaping hole on their newly remade defense, and that was at safety. But after they heard what Milloy's asking price was, they figured they could make do with second-year player Brian Russell. Russell wasn't upset at the team's brief flirtation with Milloy, and used it as motivation.

"You get a guy of [Milloy's] caliber out there," Russell said at the time, "and there's always going to be a decision to make. But the bottom line is he's not here. I'm here, and I plan to contribute and make them feel real comfortable with who they have."