Defensive end Chris Doleman rejected a one-year, $2 million contract offer by the Washington Redskins during training camp, then came out of retirement Tuesday to sign a deal with the Minnesota Vikings that includes far less guaranteed money. But Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins' director of player personnel, said yesterday he was not surprised or disappointed about Doleman's decision to return to his original NFL team.

"I wasn't surprised at all," Cerrato said. "It's the place where he started, and he wanted to go back. He wanted to retire a Viking. He'd been calling them. He thought he could go to the Super Bowl there."

Doleman and his D.C.-based agent, David Falk, sought a one-year, $4 million deal from the Redskins. Doleman's deal with the Vikings reportedly will pay him a prorated portion of the veteran's minimum salary of $400,000, but also includes a lucrative package of incentives. Doleman, 37, had 15 sacks for the San Francisco 49ers last season and is fourth on the league's career sacks list with 142 1/2.

Smith Takes It Easy

Middle linebacker Derek Smith participated in yesterday's practice at Redskin Park but avoided contact to protect his bruised right shoulder. He said he plans to take the same approach today and intends to play Sunday against the New York Jets. But he left open the possibility of missing the game if his shoulder and arm are too weak for him to be effective.

"It's getting better day by day, little by little," Smith said. "Hopefully by Sunday it will get to the point where I can play. . . . I'm planning on playing. But if it gets to the point where I think I'd hinder the team, I don't want to do that."

Coach Norv Turner and trainer Bubba Tyer said they expect Smith to play Sunday. The Redskins would turn to veteran Fred Strickland, a free agent signee during the offseason, if Smith is unable to play.

"You always have to be prepared," Strickland said. "You have to be ready to step in at any time in any game, so I'm not changing anything this week just because Derek might not be able to go the whole way."

Johnson Gets Honor

Quarterback Brad Johnson was named the NFC offensive player of the week after completing 20 of 28 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's 50-21 victory over the New York Giants. Johnson is the first Redskins player to win the award since running back Terry Allen in Week 5 of the 1995 season.

"A lot of credit goes to a lot of different people," Johnson said. "The quarterback always gets a lot of the credit or a lot of the blame. But like I've said all along, the credit should go to our offensive line. I'm not taking a lot of free hits right now." . . .

Reserve linebacker Malcolm Hamilton participated in yesterday's practice but departed immediately afterward to have a bulging disk in his back examined.