At least Eli Manning should be able to remember the name of his new running back.
The Giants signed the NFL's second most recognized Peyton Wednesday when they added Peyton Hillis to their roster. Hillis came out on top of a two-day workout process that also included former Giants Ryan Torain and D.J. Ware. He will take the place of Da'Rel Scott, who was waived/injured with a hamstring on Tuesday.
A familiar name will not make up for lack of familiarity with the offense, though, and Hillis said he hopes to have enough of a grasp to play Monday night against the Vikings.
"From what I understand, a lot of the terminology is the same as it was in Tampa, and so it may be a quick process," said Hillis, who was with the Bucs this season under former Giants assistant coach Mike Sullivan, Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator. "Maybe, maybe not. We'll see."
Hillis, 27, is the third running back the Giants have signed as a free agent since the season began. They added Brandon Jacobs in Week 2 after Andre Brown fractured his leg in the preseason. Then, after releasing Scott, they had to re-sign him after David Wilson's neck injury. Scott played against the Bears on Thursday but was injured late in the game.
Jacobs also injured his hamstring against the Bears, but he is expected to practice this week and play against the Vikings. The Giants also have rookie Michael Cox in their backfield, although Tom Coughlin has been hesitant to give him offensive snaps.
Hillis is best known for his one productive season with the Browns. In 2010 he ran for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns and wound up on the cover of the Madden NFL 12 video game. His 2011 season was marred by contract squabbles with the Browns and hamstring injuries, and he managed only 587 yards in 10 games. He played in 13 games for the Chiefs last year, gaining 309 yards on 85 carries, and was with the Bucs for the regular-season opener this season but did not have any carries and was released the following week.
"I firmly believe I never had too much of an opportunity after I left Cleveland," Hillis said. "I was behind Jamaal Charles at Kansas City. I didn't get too much playing time. I felt when I got in, I did well, and then I was in Tampa and never really got to touch the field because of Doug Martin. He's pretty good. I'm just here to do whatever I can to help the team win. I think that this is a good team that can turn it around."
Hillis may have to be more than just a stopgap as the Giants wait to see what Wilson's future will hold. He may not return this season.
"It's going to be a wait-and-see until such a point where after certain evaluations over time, maybe, we have to make a call," Coughlin said of Wilson, who has a herniated disc and stenosis of the spine. "David is in a position where we're going to have to be very careful with this and the doctors are going to control this and all we can do is hope."
The Giants also signed rookie running back Jeremy Wright to the practice squad. Wright worked out with the veterans Tuesday and was at the Giants' rookie minicamp this spring.