Former Vikings defensive tackle signs with a hated rival

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Jaleel Johnson
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Jaleel Johnson /

Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson has agreed to a deal to suit up for the New Orleans Saints during the upcoming 2022 season.

Outside of the NFC North, there probably isn’t a team that Minnesota Vikings fans detest more than the New Orleans Saints.

From the bounty-gate scandal during the 2009 NFC Championship to former Saints head coach Sean Payton mocking the SKOL chant before the Minneapolis Miracle in the 2017 divisional round, Vikings fans have plenty of reasons to dislike the franchise that plays their home games in New Orleans.

Fuel always seems to be added to this rivalry whenever a player winds up suiting up for both teams. On Saturday, former Minnesota defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson became the latest to join the roster of his former team’s bitter rival.

Former Minnesota Vikings DT Jaleel Johnson signs with the New Orleans Saints

Selected in the fourth round by the Vikings in the 2017 NFL Draft, Johnson was never able to really find his fit in purple and gold.

In 2020, he got the opportunity to start in all 16 regular-season games for Minnesota. He ended up finishing that campaign with 44 tackles (three for a loss), two pressures, and 1.5 sacks. However, he was part of a Vikings defense that was one of the worst in the history of the franchise.

When Johnson became a free agent in 2021, Minnesota decided not to bring him back, and he wound up signing with the Houston Texans. For the Texans last season, he accumulated 23 tackles (two for a loss), three pressures, and one quarterback hit in 12 appearances.

If Johnson winds up on the Saints‘ final 2022 roster, expect him to have a similar role as a rotational player that he had with Houston last season.

New Orleans already has two talented defensive tackles as their starters in Shy Tuttle and David Onyemata, so they likely didn’t sign Johnson to compete for a starting spot this year.

If Johnson makes the Saints’ final 53-man roster for the 2022 campaign, he’ll get the opportunity to face the team that drafted him as the Vikings have to travel to New Orleans for a matchup next season inside the Caesars Superdome.

Vikings 2022 Draft: Five-round best player available mock draft. light. Trending