Free Agency

Michael Johnson To Decide Between Minnesota & Cincy

Chris Tomasson of theĀ Pioneer Press is bringing Minnesota Vikings beat writers back to their roots. By that, I mean he was at the airport this morning hoping to catch a glimpse and get a quote out of potential free agent acquisition Michael Johnson.

The level of detail in the story is actually pretty cool.

Johnson revealed to Tomasson at the airport that the Vikings have extended him a lucrative offer to join a defensive line that currently features pass rushers Everson Griffen and Brian Robison.

“It was a great visit,” Johnson said. “It was great seeing Coach Zimmer and the team he’s put together. I’m glad I got the opportunity to come up here and talk. It’s really made things way tougher than I thought.”

Johnson spent his first five seasons with Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati where he became one of the more reliable NFL defensive ends, but he left for Tampa Bay last offseason as an unrestricted free agent, and after a flirtation with rejoining Zimmer in Minnesota.

“No lie. Before it all started, I thought, ‘OK, I’m probably going back to Cincinnati,'” Johnson told Tomasson. “There’s going to be some tears shed at the end of the day about my decision. It’s going to be hard.”

Mike Zimmer called Johnson while Tomasson was with him at the airport.

He doesn’t want me to get on the plane.

Johnson explained that he thinks of himself as a respectful person that honors his commitments and wanted to follow through on his promise to visit Cincinnati before making up his mind.

Johnson said that his family is supportive of whatever decision he makes and acknowledged he has former teammates and friends in Cincinnati “blowing up his phone” trying to get him to return.

As for his role in Minnesota, should he sign, Johnson said he is willing to do whatever is expected of him within the crowded depth chart.

Coach Zimmer is the mad scientist, he can have me doing whatever and I’ll play my tail off.

Currently, after the Mike Wallace trade, the Vikings are expected to be in the neighborhood of about $10 million under the cap. If Johnson also joins the team then there will almost certainly be more emphasis on getting current players like Greg Jennings and Brian Robison to restructure their contracts.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. No matter what happens I do like that his agent said that “This is not a ploy” (going to Cinn) “he gave his word.”

    You cannot fault a guy for staying true to his word. That is the type of guy you want.

  2. So all the articles saying Wallace deal changes everything are pretry much mum. We could still draft a wide out now that Jennings is cut.

  3. We’ll see, but it looks though we lost another one to Cincy. I believe MJ could be the difference, along with a very good draft, between the Vikings making a serious run or just making the playoffs.

  4. I really want MJ in Minnesota. He fills a need, and between him and Mike Wallace, we can check off two areas of need before the draft. And the more flexibility Speilman has in May, the better. However, my gut is telling me that he ends up in Cincy.

  5. PFT now reporting he agreed to terms with Bengals. Guess they should have tossed a 7th rounder to Tampa before he was released, wonder what the difference was in the contract they offered versus what he was scheduled to make. This is too bad, he would have been an important piece. As I said with Boling though, if a guy wants to play where he feels his home is, there isnt much you can do about that.