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Lauderdale Native Benny Sapp Finds Comfort in Viking Jersey

Every championship team needs overachievers -- players who are performing far better than anyone could have expected. Players like Fort Lauderdale native Benny Sapp, who helped the Minnesota Vikings stomp the Dallas Cowboys this past weekend.

Sapp, who was profiled this past week in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (story's available only to subscribers), grew up in the shadow of another cornerback currently in the NFL -- Asante Samuel, who won Super Bowls with the Patriots and is now on the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a more circuitous route to an NFL starting job for Sapp, whose career was marred by his 2002 arrest for disorderly conduct while he was starring for the University of Iowa.

It messed up his draft stock; he eked his way onto a job on special teams with the Kansas City Chiefs and eventually earned a place on the Vikings roster. Maybe that's why Sapp has a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

It's certainly in evidence in this short article, by the same writer, who tells of Sapp's confrontational style with Randy Moss. Sapp has a way with the game's best receivers -- he also got under the skin of Carolina Panther Steve Smith a few weeks ago.

Sapp tells of how he and Samuel used to hustle basketball players in their neighborhood, playing two-on-two for $20 a game, instead of dealing drugs. The two stayed friends; they share a house in Miramar. Judging by his contract, Samuel's the breadwinner, but with his performance in the playoffs, Sapp's payday is right around the corner.

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Thomas Francis

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