Westbrook would be a good fit in Minnesota

Former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook is supposed to decide on Monday where he plans to play in 2010. People close to him have insisted for months that he's not going to pull a surprise retirement party and that he will indeed be back for a ninth season.

Westbrook has some standing invitations, and with Houston and Buffalo suffering injuries and the 49ers dealing with tailback Glen Coffee's unexpected retirement, Westbrook's options may have just increased. His patience could end up being quite prudent. The Rams and Redskins are intereste and have made their cases public.

St. Louis is in the mix for Westbrook, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, but frankly, other than money and his history with Steve Spagnuolo, why would he go there? Steven Jackson is going to get the brunt of the carries, the offensive line is a work in progress and they'll be grooming a new quarterback in top-overall pick Sam Bradford.

Westbrook would be an ideal outlet for Bradford, who is going to end up hitting a lot of checkdowns and hot routes as he learns to read NFL defenses. But for a 30-year-old tailback, joining a rebuilding franchise seems like a last choice. Not saying it won't happen, but if the interest is what it's said to be, I can see him going elsewhere.

The Redskins look to be a more inviting situation because of Westbrook's relationship with Donovan McNabb, his knowledge of the division and because he could complement Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson with his open-field elusiveness. Plus, Westbrook is from the Washington D.C. area, and he spent part of the offseason working out there with Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who gave me an interesting take on the ideal fit for Westbrook -- Minnesota.

Shiancoe's suggestion is his own opinion (not necessarily the team's), but it's a darn good hypothetical. After all, Minnesota explored acquiring LaDainian Tomlinson before L.T. signed with the Jets, so they're not against adding another veteran.

With Adrian Peterson being the featured back, and Albert Young and Toby Gerhart filling the role as bigger short-yardage options, Westbrook would be a perfect receiving threat out of the backfield or slot. With Percy Harvin's migraines still affecting his availability, I could see Westbrook playing that role, too, if Harvin can't.

Additionally, Westbrook and coach Brad Childress were together when Chilly was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, so they know each other. Westbrook also would be another veteran asset for Brett Favre or for Tarvaris Jackson, should Favre's ankle not allow him to return.

While I can't say I have any knowledge of the Vikings being interested, I have been told that there are some teams interested in Westbrook that wanted to keep their feelings quiet. Houston and San Francisco could now be on the grid, though.

But back to Siancoe's theory (which I like).

The Vikings have a boatload of running backs that not only include Peterson, Gerhart and Young, but also converted wide receiver Darius Reynaud and former Boise State hero Ian Johnson. They should be fine if they don't make a move at all. If they were to add Westbrook, though, that group of running backs would get even stronger -- as would Minnesota.

Bad break

Of all the good and bad things that happened in the first full weekend of preseason games, nothing knocked the wind out of me more than hearing the news of Titans running back Stafon Johnson suffering a season-ending dislocated ankle Saturday night in Seattle. The injury isn't career threatening in itself. But for the former USC player, this, coupled with his life-threatening throat injury after a weightlifting accident last year, is a major setback.

I've gotten to know and like Johnson over the past few months and have watched his comeback since he began training for the Senior Bowl with a group of prospects in Westlake Village, Calif.

So sad.

The case for a shortened preseason

First of all, the stadiums are often empty. And second of all, there are some devastating injuries.

Quick hitters

» Michael Vick looked good enough to put defensive coordinators back on notice.

» Sam Bradford got whacked, but he will be the guy in St. Louis.

» Chargers rookie RB Ryan Mathews is a big-time player.

» Titans rookie CB Alterraun Verner, who has looked great in pracitce, had an interception and four tackles.

» Seahawks WR Mike Williams continues to impress in his comeback attempt. He turned inside on a short pass and raced 51 yards for a touchdown.

The score was oddly routine, but it showed off Williams' improved conditioning. Can anyone imagine him running that far without being caught a few years back?

At this point, I'd be very surprised if Williams doesn't make the Seahawks roster.

The play also highlighted a nice night by Seahawks backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who changed the play to Williams via hand signal before the snap. Whitehurst completed 14 of 22 passes for 214 yards, two touchdowns and one pick against the Titans' reserves. The interception came on a throw to Williams where the two crossed signals.

» Matt Hasselbeck, meanwhile, struggled mightily against the Titans' starters, largely done in by poor protection. His starting job is not in jeopardy, but Whitehurst is on his way to solidifying the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.

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