Saints Release Ex-Vikings Defender

Saints Release Ex-Vikings Defender
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports.

Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson will seek his fourth place of NFL employment as the New Orleans Saints released the veteran defender late last week.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis signed Johnson in April.

Drafted by the Vikings in the 4th Round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Johnson spent four seasons in Minnesota, playing 53 games while starting 20. In fact, he started all 16 games in 2020 after Linval Joseph departed the organization, Michael Pierce opted out because of COVID, and Shamar Stephen shifted to nose tackle.

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

But the experiment was ill-fated as Johnson tallied a lowly 35.3 grade from Pro Football Focus and was correspondingly not retained by the Vikings for the 2021 season. Johnson used 2021 free agency to latch onto the Houston Texans, where he registered another underwhelming PFF grade of 44.4.

Still, he was on tap for revival with the Saints before the roster cut. New Orleans will instead lean on defensive tackles David Onyemata, Kentavius Street, and Jordan Jackson.

The news for Johnson hit as all NFL teams must trim roster counts by five players on Tuesday. Rosters dip from 90 to 85 men on August 16th, 85 to 80 on August 23rd, and 80 to 53 on August 30th.

Nov 22, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson (94) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Johnson, 28, is likely to land on another roster for the regular season or at least live on a team’s practice squad. His 65-game resume of NFL experience bolsters the likelihood of signing somewhere.

In Johnson’s full 2020 campaign, he recorded 44 tackles, three tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks.

He was teammates with C.J. Beathard, Christian Kirksey, George Kittle, and Brandon Scherff at the University of Iowa.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).


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