(UPDATE): It seems like the Vikings are genuinely interested in Michael Johnson:
Separate sources told me that two teams interested in signing Michael Johnson are the Bengals and the Vikings. #NFLFreeAgency
— JennaLaineBucs (@JennaLaineBucs) March 11, 2015
Original story below
Wednesday afternoon, Chris Tomasson reported that a source close to defensive end Michael Johnson said he expects the Vikings to be “in the running” for Johnson’s 2015-2016 destination. Tampa Bay waived Johnson earlier Wednesday, and he is not expected to make an immediate decision. However, Minnesota could hold the upper hand as head coach Mike Zimmer has already worked with Johnson. “Zimmer’s his guy,’’ said the source. “He almost went (to Minnesota) last year.’’ Two days ago, ESPN’s Ben Goessling reminded us of just that:
Johnson played with the Bengals from 2009-13, when Zimmer was Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator. Although considering Minnesota last year, he instead signed a five-year, $43.75 million contract with the Buccaneers. It was at that point the Vikings re-signed Everson Griffen.
Adding Johnson to the lineup would be significant for the Vikings, who did not see as much from veteran Brian Robison last year as they would have liked. In addition, according to Tomasson, the team is not expected to bring back free agent Corey Wootton.
The Vikings have the cap space to sign Johnson, but the bigger question may what role he would play, and if Minnesota would end up replacing Robison with the younger DE. Johnson is not a backup; he has started 43 games in the last three seasons, and it can be assumed he is shopping for another opportunity at the top of the depth chart.
The Bengals are also expected to show interest in bringing Johnson back. Cincinnati recently re-signed another Vikings interest, Clint Boling, and it will be interesting to see if Minnesota can coax Johnson to don the purple and gold.
Below is a Nov. 2014 video featuring Johnson: