Vikings add depth at safety with Michael Boulware

Updated: March 20, 2008, 6:39 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Michael Boulware felt like he never got a fair shake during his one year in Houston.

Now that he is fully healthy and playing for a new team, Boulware hopes to get a better chance to prove that he can be the playmaker he was in Seattle.

Boulware signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and will serve as the primary backup to safeties Darren Sharper and Madieu Williams.

"They offered me a clean slate," Boulware said in a phone interview. "I just wanted an opportunity to prove myself again."

After coming to Houston in a trade with the Seahawks before last season, Boulware said he was told the Texans made the move to make him their starter. But C.C. Brown played well enough to hold Boulware off, finishing fourth on the team with 83 tackles in 16 starts.

Boulware was relegated to special teams duty and finished with a career-low 11 tackles.

"It was kind of a shocker to me," Boulware said about being stuck on special teams. "It kind of took the wind out of my sails."

With a change of scenery, Boulware is looking forward to getting back on the field on defense, where he was an impact player for the Seahawks.

The brother of standout linebacker Peter Boulware, Michael made the All-Rookie team as a second-round draft pick out of Florida State in 2004, then intercepted four passes in 16 starts the following season. He intercepted a reverse pass from Randy Moss in his first game at Minnesota as a rookie, and also picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl.

For the first time in two years, Boulware said he has not had to have an offseason surgery and is looking forward to playing for defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier in a scheme that relies on the safeties to make big plays.

In his first season running the defense last year, Frazier used multiple safeties all season long, with Sharper and Dwight Smith getting the bulk of the playing time, but also sprinkling in veterans Tank Williams and Mike Doss. The Vikings cut ties with Smith in the offseason and chose not to bring back Doss and Tank Williams.

The Vikings also signed defensive tackle Kenderick Allen, a 6-foot-5, 330-pound defensive tackle who was out of football last season but will compete to provide depth behind starters Kevin and Pat Williams.

They signed Madieu Williams from Cincinnati to be the starter opposite Sharper, but Boulware knows he's going to get plenty of chances to earn playing time.

"That was very attractive to me," said Boulware, who interviewed in Carolina earlier in the week. "That's what I'm asking for. I'm just looking for some opportunities."<


Jon Krawczynski can be reached at jkrawczynski(at)

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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