DT Johnson hopeful for return to Minnesota

Defensive tackle Tom Johnson is hopeful he will be playing for the Vikings during the 2015 season, but he is also ready to test the free agency market if things don't work out.

Last season the Minnesota Vikings signed defensive tackle Tom Johnson to a one-year deal, and he may have been one of the biggest surprises of the season. He started out in the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Indianapolis Colts and then played in NFL Europa, the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League before signing with the New Orleans Saints. Then he joined the Vikings and had a career season.

Johnson was used as a rotational defensive tackle that would often come in during passing situations. He recorded 32 tackles, was second on the team with 6½ sacks, eight tackles for a loss, 30 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

This offseason, Johnson once again finds himself a free agent. Even though it is still unclear where he will end up, he hopes it will be with the Vikings and he will give them a chance before meeting with other teams.

“I hope things work out (with the Vikings); I enjoyed my season there,” Johnson said. “I loved the team, loved the coaching staff, so hopefully we get something done. It’s a business at the end of the day, so we’ll see what pans out.”

Players, much like teams, have to do what they feel is best for themselves. While Johnson does hope to return to the Vikings in 2015, his agent has also been fielding calls from other teams as well.

If things do not pan out the way he wants, he is ready to test out the free-agent market and can officially sign with any team on Tuesday.

“Right now I’m not really sure exactly how many (teams) or who it is,” Johnson said. “I know we’ve had some people interested, and once everything started panning out with the Vikings and see what we’re going to do with them. Then we’re going to see if things pan out the way you want to (with the) Vikings; if not we’ll go somewhere else. So we’ll test out the market.”

With the free-agent negotiating period officially underway, discussions should begin to move along a lot faster between Johnson and the Vikings. Johnson is currently 30 years old and is looking for a multi-year deal, but at that age it might be hard for the Vikings to commit multiple years to him. General manager Rick Spielman usually tends to sign younger players.

No matter which way the discussions go between Johnson and the Vikings, the defensive tackle said there should be more details coming about in the next couple days.

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Still to come: Running back | Wide receiver |
OFFENSE: Quarterback | Tight end | Offensive tackle | Offensive guard | Center
DEFENSE: Defensive tackle | Defensive end | Outside linebacker |
Inside linebacker | Safety | Cornerback


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