by John Grieshop/Getty Images

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have signed veteran safety Chris Crocker to give new coach Mike Zimmer some insurance on the unproven back end of his defense.

Crocker signed on Monday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the 12-year veteran played seven seasons under Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati and Atlanta.

It's the third straight summer that Zimmer has coaxed Crocker out of a planned retirement to play for him. Zimmer needs Crocker in Minnesota to try to help shore up the safety spot opposite standout Harrison Smith.

Robert Blanton appeared to have the inside track to the starting job, but he injured his hamstring and will miss several weeks. Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond haven't stood out and Andrew Sendejo is just returning from injury.

Favre headed to Packers HOF in 2015

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame and have his jersey retired next year.

Favre writes on his official website that it will be an honor to have his name placed among others such Bart Starr, Curly Lambeau, Ray Nitschke and Vince Lombardi, to name a few.

Favre says it wouldn't be possible if not for the foresight of former general manager Ron Wolf, who he says is the greatest GM in the history of the NFL.

The team plans an official announcement Monday afternoon. Favre will join by teleconference.

It's been six years since Favre 'retired' from the Packers, tried to return, then went on to play for the New York Jets and rival Minnesota Vikings — a move that outraged some Packers fans.

New deal for Dalton

UNDATED (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals have made Andy Dalton one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league. Dalton has signed a six-year extension after passing for more than 3,000 yards in each of his three NHL seasons. Multiple reports say the contract is worth up to $115 million.

Dalton led the Bengals to an 11-5 record and AFC North title in 2013, setting career highs with 33 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions.

Meanwhile, in the northern end of Ohio, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon returned to training camp and practiced today as his appeal hearing with the NFL took place for a second day in New York. Gordon ended his workout earlier than his teammates so he could participate in the hearing via teleconference with his legal team. They are fighting his potential one-year suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. The 23-year-old was suspended two games last season but still led the league in yards receiving despite playing in 14 games and with three quarterbacks.

Also in the NFL:

— New York Giants running back David Wilson will be forced to retire after just two NFL seasons because of a back injury. The Giants' first-round pick in the 2012 draft underwent fusion surgery to repair vertebrae and a herniated disk in his neck in January. Wilson caught a pass in practice last week and ran with his head down into the back of an offensive lineman, a hit that caused numbness in his hands and lower extremities.

— New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has announced that Geno Smith will start over Michael Vick at quarterback in the team's preseason opener Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Smith is looking to retain the starting job in his second season after taking about 80 percent of the snaps with the first-team offense during training camp.

— Prosecutors have agreed to drop charges against Denver Broncos safety T.J. Ward in exchange for community service. Ward previously pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace charges for allegedly throwing a glass mug at a female bartender at PT's All Nude Club in May.

— The Jacksonville Jaguars have activated cornerback Alan Ball from the physically unable to perform list. He missed the first week of training camp with an ankle injury sustained during minicamp in June.