4 players who almost signed with the Vikings in free agency

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Eddie Lacy
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Eddie Lacy /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Michael Johnson /

Michael Johnson – DE (2015)

A year after using free agency to add guys like Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson, and Captain Munnerlyn to their defense, the Vikings and head coach Mike Zimmer set out to upgrade their roster even more during the 2015 offseason.

One of Minnesota’s targets in free agency, Michael Johnson, was someone who Zimmer was very familiar with thanks to the time he spent as the Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator. With Zimmer’s help, Johnson was able to develop into a solid pass rusher for the Bengals.

So with their head coach’s past success with the defensive end, the Vikings decided to bring him in for a visit. Johnson traveled to Minnesota and met with the Vikings, but he didn’t end up signing with the purple and gold. Minnesota even reportedly presented the pass rusher with a lucrative contract offer, but it clearly still wasn’t enough to convince him to reunite with Zimmer.

Johnson’s decision to not sign a deal actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Vikings since it created an opportunity for a rookie defensive end by the name of Danielle Hunter. In 2015, Hunter was able to get some valuable snaps with Minnesota, and his time on the field as a rookie definitely played a part in him developing into the dangerous pass rusher that he is today.