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Vikings sign three, including three-year deal with Tate

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings signed cornerback Robert Tate to a three-year deal and also signed tight end Johnny McWilliams and punter Brian Morton.

Tate is entering his sixth year out of Cincinnati. He started all 16 games at cornerback in 2000 after making the switch from wide receiver in 1999. Tate struggled with a shoulder injury for much of 2001 and platooned at cornerback with rookie Eric Kelly.

The Vikings placed Tate on the expansion list Jan. 22, making him eligible to be selected by the Houston Texans in the expansion draft. The Texans passed on Tate, however, allowing the Vikings to re-sign him.

McWilliams returns to the Vikings after being out of football in 2001. He led all Vikings tight ends with 22 receptions in 2000, but was not re-signed and was cut by New England in training camp last season.

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Morton spent the 2001 preseason with the Vikings but was cut before the start of the regular season. The Vikings signed him as a possible replacement for Mitch Berger, who was released Feb. 22. Morton will play in NFL Europe this spring.

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