Rookie safety Tyrell Johnson clearly has a lot of confidence, but people around the Vikings are quick to point out that he doesn’t seem arrogant or cocky – he just believes in himself a lot. And he’s not a showboating ass who will soon be changing his name as a self-promotional gimmick. Tom Powers of the Pioneer-Press calls Johnson an “interesting guy” who, for all his self-assurance, still gets star-struck in the presence of veteran teammates like Pat Williams and Darren Sharper. Quotes like this give you the feeling that Johnson has his head in the right place:
There is a whole lot of pressure in coming in and playing on a defense that is already good. All the guys are counting on you. When you already have a good defense, all you can do is make them worse. Or maybe just a little bit better. It’s very tough.
Johnson was tapped as the heir-apparent to the aforementioned Mr. Sharper, but an injury to Madieu Williams opened the door for the rookie to win a starting spot ahead of schedule. Johnson’s play has already garnered the attention of opponents, including Packers QB Aaron Rodgers who said:
That rookie in the secondary is doing a nice job.
A good game against the Packers and Rodgers might even learn Johnson’s name – assuming Aaron hasn’t been knocked completely senseless by Jared Allen.
The Guy He’s Replacing
Tyrell is in the line-up because Madieu Williams has a neck injury. Today, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier gave an update on the safety’s condition:
From what I’ve been told by our trainers it is just a matter of time before he’s back on the field. We’re counting on him at some point to be back with us in uniform. But he’s attending all the meetings and getting up to speed on what we’re doing defensively.
The Vikings are hoping to have Williams back by week 4 against Tennessee. And there’s no danger of Tyrell Johnson winning his job, no matter how well the rookie plays – the Vikes signed free agent Madieu to a six-year, $33 million contract, and will give him every opportunity to earn that on the field.