D. Thomas could provide Vikings immediate help

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Veteran linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, who signed Monday with Minnesota, could find himself in a prominent role more quickly than you might imagine.

The Vikings were down to their third-string middle linebacker at the end of Sunday's 12-10 victory over Detroit, and at times last week only had four healthy linebackers in practice. Thomas, who played all three linebacker positions during a four-year stint with the team from 2004-07, could slide into the middle with relatively little practice time.

Second-year player David Herron, who had replaced starter E.J. Henderson, is "pretty beat up," coach Brad Childress said Monday. Herron suffered ankle and head injuries Sunday. The Vikings won't make any decisions about his status until later this week, but the only other option at the position is special teams player Vinny Ciurciu.

The Vikings could also shift outside linebacker Ben Leber, or possibly Chad Greenway, to the middle. But they would prefer to disrupt only one position if possible.