Absolutely, he's caught my eye," Culpepper said. "He works very hard, has a lot of athleticism and is a great receiver out of the backfield. I tell you what, he definitely can hold his own. I'll feel very comfortable with him anytime he's in there."
Ned is 5-11, 217 pounds, but has the shiftiness of someone 25 pounds lighter. He never seems to tire and he has made some of the biggest plays in training camp this side of Moss.
Greg Biekert told me to sign the guy," Tice said. "I'm glad he did."
Biekert was with the Raiders last summer. So was Ned. But so was Tyrone Wheatley, Charlie Garner, Terry Kirby, Zack Crockett . . .
"It was a numbers game for Larry in Oakland," said Biekert, a linebacker. "But I remember thinking if this guy ever got an opportunity with the right team, he could really contribute
Fourth-round draft pick Onterrio Smith figures to be more of a factor eventually. But even Smith, the former University of Oregon star, doesn't expect Ned to fall back to him.
"You guys might not know who Larry Ned is, but I'm from the West Coast," Smith said. "I saw him at San Diego State. I know what that guy can do."
One reason Ned went to San Diego State was to follow in the footsteps of another Louisiana native, Marshall Faulk. By the time Ned was done playing, he had broken many of Faulk's school records and finished second to Faulk in career rushing.
"No matter what I did, it wouldn't have mattered," Ned said of the Raiders. "They didn't give me a chance to compete. Up here, I have a chance to compete
Ned became a dedicated participant in the Vikings' offseason conditioning program at Winter Park. He made 89 percent of the workouts, which ranked first among running backs and in the top 25 percent of all players, according to strength and conditioning coach Steve Wetzel.
"Larry has such good speed, good explosion for a guy his size," Wetzel said. "He doesn't look big, but if you look at him, there's no fat on him
I'M REALLY EXITED ABOUT THIS GUY I HOPE HE CAN HELP SMITH DOESN'T EVEN THINK NED WILL FALL BEHIND HIM