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Could DE Michael Johnson follow Zimmer to Minnesota?

Cincinnati Bengals impending free-agent defensive end Michael Johnson is set to hit the market this offseason and Minnesota could be the likely landing spot.

Johnson, 26, was scheduled to become a free agent last year, but the Bengals applied the franchise tag on him. Failing to lock Johnson up long term last offseason, Cincinnati gave a $40 million contract extension to defensive end Carlos Dunlap.

With big money used on Dunlap, it seems less likely that the Bengals will allocate big money to both ends.

Enter the Vikings.

New Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer happens to be a big fan of his former player. This is what Zimmer had to say about Johnson before landing his gig with the Vikings:

“I have a ton of respect for him,” defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said via “I remember when he came here he had a lot of things said about him when he came out of college; he wouldn’t finish, he didn’t do this or didn’t do that, but Michael has become a good football player. He’s very conscientious, he plays extremely hard. He’s one of these guys that we’ve build up into what we’re looking for here, the kind of guys that we want, the kind of personalities, the kind of caring about one another in the locker room. I can’t say enough good things about him … hopefully, we’ll get him back. If not, I know that Michael will be successful wherever he goes.”

Well, Minnesota is a very realistic opportunity.

Defensive end Brian Robison was recently locked to a long-term deal, but the Vikings failed to agree to contract extensions with Everson Griffen and Jared Allen. While re-signing Griffen and/or Allen remains to be an option, Johnson is younger and had a lot of success playing under Zimmer.

Johnson posted 11.5 sacks in 2012. That number was down to 3.5 in 2013, but he recorded 56 tackles and, according to Pro Football Focus, is ranked as the No. 4 overall 4-3 end in the NFL.

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  1. Holy cow!

    Your old pal Fragile just couldn’t believe the Musgrove to Philly report. Freds was shocked, so he did some asking around to see if the report was true or just bunk.

    Well, as it turns out, facts are facts… old Billy is off to a new team. For those that don’t believe it, just take a look at this link and you will see the proof. This here is a photo of Willy Mustrove’s playbook being mailed to Philly yesterday.

    1. Sorry to point out that you are wrong, Freds, but that is actually the complimentary Vikings travel alarm clock being sent to Chris Klewe, which he forgot to pick up when he left Winter Park. It is given to all departing players with the Vikings’ very best wishes for the future. (batteries not included)

  2. I think michael johnson would be great for some depth, and can be situational pass rusher like everson was, i would still start everson tho

  3. I’m a Viking 4life! We don’t need to rebuild just send Norve to sandiego with the check book and bring Mr. Rivers in to hand Adrian the great his ring before we find out what Detroit felt when Barry stood up for himself! Use that #1 pick and go get Willis from the 49’rs bring Winfield back as a saftey and if QB 1 won’t come than offer #2 pick for Big Ben who knows how to play in football weather!!

    1. One more thing to do is hire Jim Tressel as assistant defense coach the man knows defense! What about the try QB in Washington by the name of Cousins I would rather use #1 pick on him than another ponder

  4. Zimmer and new DC George Edwards both have experience in 4-3 and 3-4. Both coaches have experimented with using both schemes in the same season.

    It wouldn’t shock me to see the Vikings try to sign both Griffen and Johnson. They are both athletic, versital and talented freaks of nature that would allow Zimmer and Edwards to play around with multiple defensive fronts and packages.

  5. Also add in the fact the Vikings could land OLB Anthony Barr or Khalil Mack with the 8th pick… the defense could look a lot better very quickly.

    From the 40th spot the Vikings could be in good position to land QB Jimmy Garoppolo or Zach Mettemberger…or they could trade up to land Derek Carr if he fall to the late first round.

    With a veteran like Matt Cassel or Josh Freeman, the Vikings don’t need to reach for a QB with the 8th pick.