Free Agency

Free Agency Update: Michael Johnson Returns To Cincinnati

Early this morning, Adam Schefter reported that defensive end Michael Johnson had reached an agreement with the Cincinnati Bengals to return to his former team:

Johnson, who spent 2014 in Tampa Bay, found a lot of success while playing in Cincinnati under Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, recording 11.5 sacks in 2012. Johnson visited the Vikings late last week, and was quoted at the airport as saying that it would be a tough decision between his the two teams.

I’m not sure how tough of a decision it was, as Johnson was able to reach an agreement first thing Sunday morning. I don’t think that had anything to do with the Vikings, however, as Johnson is on record saying the team offered him a ‘lucrative deal’ and that he thought the team had an excellent coaching staff in place.

Regardless of how good the Vikings offer was, it seems Johnson believed he’d end up in Cincinnati the entire time. There is obviously something to be said about the familiarity of friends, family and home.

Johnson would have been a nice addition to Zimmer’s defense, but I don’t view it as a devastating loss in potential. It will be interesting to watch as the Vikings move into the second week of free agency. After being relatively quiet prior to Friday evening, I wonder if the team will now swoop in and target some mid-level players in hopes of filling some gaps on the roster.

Side note: Kudos to Chris Tomasson, who tracked Johnson down at the airport on Saturday morning. True dedication, right there.

Show More

Brent LaBathe

Brent LaBathe (Contributor) Cloud technology leader by day, sports nut by night, Brent is a local purple diehard who's passion for the team boarders on obsession. After graduating from St. Cloud State in 2008, he was a contributing writer for and has always had a passion for writing. When he's not cursing his golf clubs for failing him yet again, he's constantly on twitter @BrentLaBathe.

Related Articles


  1. Ouch, rejection!

    Oh well, I guess being close to friends is more important to him than playoff wins. Good luck with Andy and Marv, but I think you blew it, Mikey

    1. Is he the dude who missed games last year because of alleged spousal abuse? If so, he ain’t gonna be playing in Minnesota. Especially after the AD thing.

  2. It’s fitting, Johnson is in a mediocre prime ready for a decline. Just like the Bengals.

  3. Good.

    “Bengals signed RE Michael Johnson, formerly of the Bucs, to a four-year, $24 million contract. He picked the Bengals over the Vikings. Johnson played for Cincinnati from 2009-2013 before signing a huge contract with the Bucs last offseason and getting cut last week after pocketing $16 million. He had effort questions and put some bad tape out there in 2014….”

    He’s obviously a “take-the-money-and-run” half-wit. Why would you even entertain the thought of bringing such a turd here? At least you know Scott Crighton has the work ethic to try to improve himself. “Thanks Vikings for picking up the tab at Manny’s,” Johnson says while signing with another team. If Spielman wasn’t wasting so much money on steak dinners on these miscreants he could afford to bring back the Jennings’ and Winfield’s of the world.

    ~ BTW, how embarrassing is it that the local media is now resorting to having to tell fans that player X isn’t coming here but “it was really, really close” between the team player X signed with and the Vikings. How magnanimous of these schmucks to spew-tweet such condescending mouth diarrhea. Because, of course, we’d all be jumping off rooftops at the news that some dingleberry not good enough to be on Tampa’s roster didn’t sign with the Vikings unless Tomasson repeatedly reassured us of how close the final call was. Just pathetic.