Tyrell Johnson oozed athleticism coming out of Arkansas State, but that never fully transferred onto the football field in the NFL. At least not yet.
Some still believe Johnson can be a starting — maybe even highly productive safety – in the NFL, but in Minnesota his time was simply up. Both sides, the player and the team, felt it best to move on after another year in which he was given a chance to earn the starting job but failed to fully secure it.
He lost another training camp battle once again in 2011, losing out to incumbent starter Husain Abdullah and Jamarca Sanford, despite Madieu Williams leaving for San Francisco in free agency. Johnson ended up starting three games (one for Sanford and two for Abdullah) during injuries, but Johnson's season also ended with a hamstring injury.
He also had an arrest for drunken driving, and he gave an impassioned apology after his September incident.
On the field, he was given the chance to earn a starting spot – and he did at times but could never hang on, despite being a second-round draft choice with all kinds of potential. At times it was injury – he finished both the 2010 and 2011 seasons on injured reserve – but it was also a combination of ineffective play in which he seemed to slow to diagnose.
His best season was 2009, when he set career highs with 71 tackles (sixth on the team), one interception and seven passes defensed. He started both playoff games then, making a combined six tackles, as well as 15 regular-season games (he missed a Week 14 contest against Cincinnati because of a concussion).
Whether he was too soft – his personality is low-key and soft-spoken – or just not motivated enough, whatever the reason, his athleticism alone was never enough to keep him in the confidence of the coaches.