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Vikings Sign DE Fernando Smith

December 21, 2000

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) _ The Minnesota Vikings signed defensive end Fernando Smith on Wednesday as a possible remedy for the problems against the run.

Smith, who played for the Vikings from 1994-97, gives them a bigger presence in their front seven, at 6-foot-6 and 287 pounds. He will be activated for their game Sunday at Indianapolis.

He played for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1998, the Baltimore Ravens in 1999 and the St. Louis Rams for three games this season. He was a second-round pick by the Vikings out of Jackson State in 1994.

Smith’s role is clearly to be a run-stopper. The Vikings allowed the Rams’ Marshall Faulk to rush for 135 yards and the Green Bay Packers’ Ahman Green to gain 161 yards rushing the past two weeks and will face the NFL’s leading runner, Edgerrin James, against the Colts.

``We have not played well in run defense,″ coach Dennis Green said. ``In the playoffs, you have to be able to stop the run. You’re talking about playing the Saints, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, New York Giants.

``All those teams have physical running games. It’s exactly the same with the Indianapolis Colts. Any game we play from here on, run defense is going to be very important.″

The Vikings released defensive end Antwone Young from the practice squad.

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