Nov 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) hugs defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Free Agency: Michael Johnson Staying In Cincinnati?


Are Viking fans counting their chickens before they hatch on defensive end Michael Johnson?

Many fans practically have Johnson’s name up there on the Ring of Honor, but before Johnson can become the next dominant defensive lineman in Minnesota, he has to get out of Cincinnati.

And there are rumblings now that he may not get out of Cincinnati.

Pete Prisco has poked a hole in the conventional wisdom on Johnson. For months we’ve heard the Bengals have to let Johnson go because they can’t afford to pay him. But Prisco is hearing the Bengals will make a push to re-sign Johnson.

Still counting those chickens?

The Johnson-to-Vikings connection was a natural one to make after Johnson’s old mentor Mike Zimmer became head coach. The Vikings will likely have an opening at defensive end with the expected departure of Jared Allen.

And the Vikings have cap space to spend, almost $30 million by current projections.

Johnson is arguably the most attractive defensive end on the market. His sack totals weren’t impressive last year, but forget that. He is a disruptive, multi-talented player who can rush, defend the run and drop into coverage with almost equal proficiency.

The hulking 6-7, 270 pound Johnson was relatively unheralded coming out of college, but under Zimmer’s tutelage, he developed into a defensive stud.

It now appears the Bengals will make a serious effort to keep Johnson at home. If the Vikings indeed had Johnson in their plans, they may be forced to go to plan B.

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Tags: Michael Johnson Minnesota Vikings

  • 3kolu

    We also have the inside track on Everson Griffen, whose versatility and edge speed projects him as a double-digit sack producer with the ability to drop into coverage. I’d hate to overpay for Johnson and his 3,5 sacks isn’t going to cut it if we want to concentrate our efforts on putting QB’s on their backs.

  • David Mallow

    Almost 30 million?? Last I heard it’s at 33 million…you may wanna check that again. Salary was 123,then the raise put it at 130, now is said to be 132.. They go from 24 to 31 now at 33…anyways, if they dont get him then that will be more FAs at more needy positions for them to get… dont guarantee though that he WILL stay in Cincinnati. But I have been looking and really starting to lean more towards Lamarr Houston, he rushes the passer extremely well, good against the run and has the ability to drop back in zone. Not sure what his price tag would be but either of these guys and the dline will be instantly upgraded….

  • David Mallow

    SACKS DO NOT COUNT AS EVERYTHING. .. If you look deeper, Johnson tallied the 2nd most tackles of his career last season, I think he was 8th in the league in QB hurries. Dont let the 3.5 Sacks full you, he is very disruptive