Oct 13, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tackle Charlie Johnson (74) blocks against the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Panthers win 35-10. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Friday being the fifth day after the Super Bowl, a small handful of player contracts hit an automatic voiding deadline. One of these contracts belonged to Vikings starting guard Charlie Johnson (a grateful tip of the cap to USA Today’s nattily-clad Tom Pelissero, who pointed this one out Friday morning on Twitter.)
As of now, Johnson is a free agent. Per Spotrac, Johnson’s original three year deal will leave $1.2 million in dead money on the Vikings’ cap. In other words, this was money the Vikings deferred that cannot be erased from the cap.
Johnson could always be brought back by the Vikings, but after the way he performed in 2013, I imagine the Vikes will look around for a new left guard. Johnson is really back-up quality at this point and I think his inadequacies probably didn’t help Matt Kalil, who had a down year at left tackle last season.
The Vikings were by-and-large much stronger on the right side, where Phil Loadholt and Brandon Fusco have both developed into solid players. The draft could be an option for replacing Johnson. One guy to keep an eye on is North Dakota State lineman Billy Turner, who played tackle in college but might be better suited moving inside at the next level.