Rookie defensive end Dimitrius Underwood, who left the Minnesota Vikings to pursue his faith, met yesterday with Miami Dolphins Coach Jimmy Johnson and decided to join the team starting with practice Monday.

"He wants to be with the Dolphins," Johnson said. "I am happy he decided to play, because you can never have too many talented players, and obviously he is a talented player."

Underwood, the 29th player taken in the first round of the April draft, was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins after the Vikings released him. He and Johnson met for about an hour.

"I will try to do everything I can to contribute in any way possible," Underwood said in a statement. "I am looking forward to being with the team in a few days."

Underwood left the Vikings' training camp after just one practice. He walked out on a five-year, $5.3 million contract, sacrificing nearly all of his $1.75 million signing bonus.

The Dolphins will owe him no signing bonus and a base salary of just $395,000.

SAINTS: Running back Ricky Williams's slow-healing ankle sprain will keep him out of the next preseason game against Green Bay, but he is expected to be ready for the regular season.

The news for Pro Bowl defensive end Joe Johnson was much worse--he is out for the season after rupturing the patella tendon in his right knee during a line drill. Tackle William Roaf also was injured, spraining his left knee and ankle when players landed on his leg in a pileup. He will also miss the Green Bay preseason game.

EAGLES: Philadelphia traded quarterback Bobby Hoying to the Raiders, reuniting him with his former offensive coordinator, Jon Gruden.

Hoying, 26, thrived under Gruden late in 1997, but lost his starting job and confidence last year during the Eagles' 3-13 season. The Eagles get a conditional draft pick in 2000.

COLTS: Running back-kick returner Vaughn Hebron retired, a week after signing with the team. Hebron, 28, was Denver's top kickoff returner last season.

SEAHAWKS: Wide receiver Mike Pritchard underwent arthroscopic surgery Monday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. The Seahawks expect Pritchard to be out three to four weeks.

BUCCANEERS: Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp took part in full-contact practice drills and will play in Saturday's game against New England, the team said.

Sapp hasn't practiced in nearly a week because of a lower back strain.