INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts lost their fourth defensive starter since the beginning of the veteran free-agency period Wednesday when the Minnesota Vikings signed safety Mike Doss to a one-year, $1 million deal.
Doss joins cornerback Nick Harper (Tennessee), outside linebacker Cato June (Tampa Bay) and defensive tackle Montae Reagor (Philadelphia) in moving to a new team since the end of the 2006 season. He had scheduled visits with both Minnesota and Philadelphia this week, along with a possible side trip to Tampa Bay, but didn’t make it out of the Twin Cities without a contract.
The Canton, Ohio, native will be reunited with former Colts assistant secondary coach Leslie Frazier, who was named as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator a week after Indianapolis’ Super Bowl XLI win over Chicago.
A second-round draft pick by Indianapolis in 2003, Doss started 44 of 46 games in which he played. He had 276 career tackles with nine passes broken up, seven interceptions, six forced fumbles and one sack.
A former All-America selection at Ohio State, the 5-foot-10, 207-pound defensive back missed the final 10 games of the 2006 season and all four postseason games after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 22. He also had been bothered by ankle and hamstring injuries the last two seasons.
Doss, who has split with his former agent Tom Condon and recently signed with Drew Rosenhaus, told reporters in Minneapolis that his recovery from knee surgery has been going well and that he fully expects to be ready for the start of training camp in late July.
Doss was able to go through some work for pro scouts during Ohio State’s Pro Day on March 10.
“I think I got a chance to show teams that I am functioning and will be able to contribute this season,” he said. “You can’t win games in April, but I’ll be ready to roll in training camp.”
Among the other safeties on the Vikings’ roster right now are Dwight Smith, who played for Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy at Tampa Bay; Darren Sharper and Tank Williams.
“It will be a great situation to have three or four guys that can start anywhere in this league,” he added. “Competition will bring out the best in each individual.”
Minnesota coach Brad Childress, meanwhile, appeared to be pleased by the addition of Doss to the team.
“It’s always important to add quality football players to the roster. He’s won a national championship and been part of a Super Bowl winner. That’s experience you can’t take for granted,” Childress said in a prepared statement.
• Moorehead next? — In addition to Doss, the Vikings also may be adding Indianapolis wide receiver Aaron Moorehead in the coming days.
Moorehead, a restricted free agent, wrapped up a two-day visit with Minnesota officials Tuesday.
The Colts have now parted ways with running back Dominic Rhodes (Oakland) and wide receiver Brandon Stokley (Denver) along with Harper, Reagor, June, and Doss in the last month. Defensive tackle Corey Simon and wide receiver Ricky Proehl also are not expected back.
• Saturday named to NFL committee — Colts center Jeff Saturday has been appointed to a league advisory committee that will meet regularly with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The committee was formed to discuss issues that are of concern to the league and the players.
In addition to Saturday, other committee members include Jacksonville safety Donovan Darius, former Buffalo cornerback Troy Vincent and Philadelphia linebacker Takeo Spikes. The board reportedly had its first meeting earlier this week in New York.
• Stokley not ready until training camp — Stokley, who signed with the Broncos two weeks ago, may not be ready to take part in any drills with the team until the start of training camp.
Stokley missed most of the 2006 season with Indianapolis due to ankle, knee and Achilles’ tendon injuries. He spent the final three regular-season games and the postseason on the Colts’ injured reserve list due to the Achilles’ tendon injury, which he suffered against Jacksonville on Dec. 10.
• Colts looking at Barlow? — Running back Kevan Barlow, who played with the New York Jets last season, has reportedly drawn some interest from several NFL teams, including Indianapolis. Buffalo and Tennessee may be in the mix as well.
Barlow began his career with the San Francisco 49ers.