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Veteran CB Sheppard wants starting job, Super Bowl title with Vikes

Lito Sheppard was looking for more than a run at a Super Bowl championship when he decided to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. He was eyeing a starting job as well.

The cornerback signed a one-year deal -- which a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora is worth $2 million -- with the Vikings on Wednesday, partly because he was joining a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations and partly because the Vikings are banged up in the secondary.

"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.

Minnesota's other starting cornerback, Antoine Winfield, missed six games last season because of a foot injury and will turn 33 in June, so the Vikings made adding depth at the position a priority this offseason.

Sheppard spent the first seven seasons of his career in Philadelphia, where Vikings head coach Brad Childress and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier got their first looks at him.

"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."

Sheppard intercepted 18 passes during his time with the Eagles and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2005 and 2006. But he missed 10 games with injuries the past three years, including five in his only season with the New York Jets in 2009.

The Jets benched Sheppard in the AFC Championship Game in favor of second-year cornerback Dwight Lowery, then cut him in March before he could earn a $10 million roster bonus.

"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.

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