4 Vikings role players who must be re-signed in 2021

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Chris Jones
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Chris Jones /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Jaleel Johnson /

Jaleel Johnson – DT

Jaleel Johnson might not be performing as well as the Vikings had hoped heading into the 2020 season, but it might be a little too soon to give up on the player just yet.

It’s easy to forget Minnesota lost defensive tackle Linval Joseph in free agency when he departed for the Los Angeles Chargers. His replacement – free-agent signing Michael Pierce – opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns and this left players like Johnson forced to play prominent reps that they might not have been ready for.

If the Vikings don’t have to break the bank to pen Johnson to a short-term deal this offseason, it would allow them to move him back on the defensive rotation and allow him to work on some of the problems that seem to hamper his progression.

Johnson’s 41.4 grade from Pro Football Focus is a damning indictment of his level of production and it does seem as if a starting role has come too soon.

However, his commitment cannot be questioned even if the experience and positional sense might be missing at times. Minnesota might give Johnson one more shot to prove his worth with relatively little in the way of depth at the position and almost no financial resources available to bring in a notable replacement.