EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings continued to revamp their defense on Monday by agreeing to terms with free agent Greg Biekert, hoping the former Oakland Raider can bring some consistency at linebacker.
Biekert, who was released Sunday by Oakland after not agreeing to take a large pay cut, provides a veteran presence at a position where the Vikings lack experience. Minnesota cut 8-year veteran Lemanski Hall on Sunday.
Terms of Biekert's deal weren't disclosed.
"He's a big, tough guy. He's smart," head coach Mike Tice said. "He's going to get us lined up."
The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Biekert is expected to start at middle linebacker for Sunday's season opener at Chicago.
Tice said Henri Crockett, who hasn't developed as well as the coaching staff has liked, will shift to weakside linebacker, where rookie Raonall Smith is listed the starter. Smith has been bothered by a shoulder injury.
"Anytime you can add one player and he makes you better in two spots, that's a good get," Tice said.
Biekert, who was expected to arrive in the Twin Cities Monday night, becomes the eighth free agent signed to the Vikings defense.
The Raiders had asked the 10-year pro to take a pay cut of $1.5 million from the $2.5 million he was scheduled to make this season. Biekert was a seventh-round draft pick by the Raiders in 1993 out of Colorado and led Oakland with 108 tackles last season, starting in all 16 games.
But he lost his starting job to first round draft pick Napolean Harris.
Biekert, 33, shouldn't have too tough a time adjusting to the Vikings' defense, seeing as how he played under Minnesota defensive coordinator Willie Shaw when he served in the same capacity with the Raiders.
"Everything we've done, he's played before. So I don't anticipate a problem," Shaw said.
Asked if Biekert would have enough time to pick up the defense by Sunday, Shaw said: "He has to. I'm not starting."
Describing Biekert as "the consummate pro," Shaw hopes his experience in the league will help guide his younger players on the field.
"We feel with the people we've got, he makes us better. It's another veteran leader in a young defense, a guy who's been to battle before that I've been to battle with."
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