When Vic So’oto signed his injury settlement with the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 10, the team told him there’s a chance it could bring him back at some point.
That day arrived Sunday for the second-year outside linebacker when he flew into Green Bay and re-signed with the Packers in the wake of starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga being placed on injured reserve with a hip injury.
Fresh off a month-long stint with the Oakland Raiders, the 6-foot-3, 263-pound So’oto finished the paperwork in time for him to return during the latter half of Monday’s first practice after the Packers' bye week.
So’oto’s return works out for both parties as the Packers have grown increasingly thin at outside linebacker after placing first-round pick Nick Perry (wrist) on injured reserve last week and Clay Matthews’ status still uncertain after suffering a hamstring injury against Arizona two weeks ago.
So’oto, 25, went back home to Utah after being given his release in Oakland and fielded a few calls before he and his agent came the agreement Green Bay would again be his best fit.
“It’s an opportunity,” said So’oto, who made the Packers’ roster as an undrafted free agent last year out of Brigham Young. “Each team, each day is an opportunity, each rep is an opportunity and that’s how I see it. I might be able to play, might be able to get a shot out there, and when I do, hopefully I contribute and help this team win.”
So’oto had as good of a camp as anyone last season, but suffered a back injury that plagued him throughout his rookie year. This year, he was lost in the shuffle in camp with the addition of Perry and performance of undrafted rookie Dezman Moses.
So’oto, 25, came down with an ankle injury in the preseason finale against Kansas City and spent the first week of the season on injured reserve before reaching a settlement and signing with Raiders two weeks later.
In Oakland, So’oto was active in four games and made one tackle before being released last week when the team activated linebacker Aaron Curry.
With Matthews and Perry’s absent, So’oto will be contesting for snaps behind veteran Erik Walden, who’s seen a resurgence this year, Moses and third-year linebacker Frank Zombo, who was recently promoted off the physically unable to perform list.
After trying to make a conversion to a 4-3 defense with the Raiders, So’oto has a greater sense of normalcy being back in Dom Capers’ 3-4 with the Packers, a team he signed after the 2011 NFL Draft at the urging of his wife, Ashley.
“Just learning the business side of it, so to speak, understanding you’re only as good as your last play and you’re only as good as what you put on film,” So’oto said. “This has all been an educational experience, learning a new defense down in Oakland, a 4-3. I’d never played in. It’s a good experience.”
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