Vikings Release Much-Maligned Left Guard Charlie Johnson


Charlie Johnson didn’t get a lot of love from fans in his four years as a member of the Vikings. Now Purple Nation won’t have Johnson to kick around anymore.

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Today the Vikings cut Charlie Johnson, freeing up $2.5 million in cap space and opening up a position on their much-maligned offensive line.

Initially signed as a stopgap at left tackle, Johnson slid over to left guard after Matt Kalil was drafted. Johnson was bad as a left tackle and only slightly better as a guard. The best you can say about Johnson is that his run blocking was not always terrible. His pass blocking though…was mostly terrible.

Many were surprised last year when the Vikings brought Johnson back on a two-year deal. But the Vikes needed a veteran place-holder at left guard and they decided to stick with the known quantity rather than strike out in free agency in a major way. They also brought in Vlad Ducasse as insurance.

After re-signing Johnson, the Vikings drafted former Stanford guard David Yankey in the fifth round and the thinking was that Yankey would quickly compete with Johnson for the job. But Yankey failed to convince coaches that he was ready and Johnson ended up as the starter until late in the season when injury pushed him out.

The Vikings will go into this season with Yankey as their one in-house option at left guard. One assumes they will add more options via free agency and/or the draft as this thing plays out. Unless they’re really confident in Yankey all of a sudden.

Recent mocks have had the Vikings drafting Iowa G/T Brandon Scherff with the #11 overall pick, but drafting a guard that high would go completely against organizational philosophy.

Would the Vikings draft Scherff and use him as a guard for a year, then slide him over to left tackle if Matt Kalil doesn’t get better? I guess it’s possible.

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