EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- Being back in the cold Minnesota weather didn't bother Stalin Colinet as he left the Vikings' practice Wednesday.
"It's not that bad," the veteran defensive lineman said as the chilly wind rushed through the door. "Just as long as we're winning, I don't care what the temperature is."
Reacquired in a trade with Cleveland last week, the fifth-year player is undertaking a second tour of duty with the Vikings. After helping to hold the Green Bay offense to under 100 yards rushing in Sunday's 35-13 win over the Packers, Colinet said he's looking at this go-round as a fresh start.
"I'm playing more and I have more responsibility," said Colinet, who saw limited minutes in the Browns' first six games this season.
His first stint with the Vikings began in 1997, when Minnesota made him its third-round draft pick. He was traded to Cleveland in 1999 for draft choices and nose tackle Jerry Ball.
Last year, Colinet started all 16 games at defensive tackle for the Browns, recording a career-high 32 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks. That's why seeing his minutes go down was hard to take.
"In March you might be the man, but then the draft comes and the team has a different mind-frame," he said.
So when the Vikings came knocking, his first thought was: "Yes!"
But things are a little different in Minnesota this time. For starters, the line is filled with different personnel than when he left it. Talance Sawyer is the only lineman remaining from 1999.
"The main difference is this is a younger team than from when I was here before," said Colinet, who played with Pro Bowlers John Randle and Chris Doleman when he first came to Minnesota.
Now, Colinet finds himself in the unfamiliar role of being the veteran on the line.
"He knows the game very well," defensive tackle Fred Robbins said. "He knows our blocking schemes. He gives some hints and stuff like that."
The addition of Colinet also gives the Vikings a bigger presence at left end.
"It's always good to have every type of player. We've got a lot of speed, so we needed an end with more size to help us against the run," tackle Winfield Garnett said. "It makes us more versatile."
The Vikings made room for Colinet on the roster by releasing receiver Nate Jacquet and proceeded to reshuffle their lineup. Sawyer shifted to right end, which allowed Lance Johnstone to play as a situational pass rusher. Fred Robbins and Garnett are rotating frequently, giving the Vikings more bulk in the middle.
"Most of our ends are quick and fast guys, he's more of a power end," Garnett said. "He just brings more size to our outside."
The revamped line passed its first test in Sunday's rout of Green Bay. Ahman Green was held to 73 yards rushing, which allowed the secondary to focus on the Packers receivers.
"Definitely, our run defense was much better," Garnett said. "He's going to help us out, he seems to get the system down pretty quickly."
He's had to.
Especially last week, when the Vikings prepared to take on a Packers offense that had shredded the Baltimore Ravens' punishing defense.
"I was studying till one in the morning trying to get the defense down," Colinet said. "My life was literally filled with football."
And it will continue to be filled with football as the team looks to rebound from its slow start. But to Colinet, the challenge brings an added benefit: more playing time.
"It's just hard for me to sit on the side and not have a role," he said. "I have to have a role."
Andres Ybarra may be reached at aybarra(at)ap.org.
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