"I definitely wanted to go in and start," Sheppard said during a conference call Thursday. "And given this situation, the predicament, I definitely have that opportunity."
Starting cornerback Cedric Griffin tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the Vikings' NFC Championship Game loss at New Orleans in January. The Vikings have been encouraged by Griffin's performance in rehabilitation, but it would be a surprise if he's back to 100 percent by the start of the season.
"Coach Frazier and I have seen him up close and personal, and we know what he can bring to our team on and off the field," Childress said in a statement released by the team. "We look forward to him being a Viking."
"My past three years have been a tough road as far as off-the-field situations, and I think with this situation, this predicament, I think I can put all that behind me and we can move forward," said Sheppard, who will wear No. 29 in Minnesota. "But those guys'll be able to tell you once the season starts and they see me out there."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.