Offense to Morph for Johnson

With a new quarterback at the helm, the Vikings offense will have a different look, or at least a different rhythm, to it.

The Vikings coaching staff will spend this week making adjustments to the offense so it will suit veteran quarterback Brad Johnson by the time Sunday's game against Detroit arrives.

Daunte Culpepper, who was lost for at least nine months when he tore three ligaments in his right knee Sunday at Carolina, was a mobile passer who could make things happen on the run.

Johnson, 37, is more of a traditional dropback quarterback although he can scramble when necessary, as evidenced by his four rushes for 30 yards versus the Panthers.

"Brad is more of a rhythm thrower," coach Mike Tice said. "He's going to get that thing out real fast. You'll see a lot of throws where he'll get the ball out and guys won't have turned around.

"He still has a little bit of athleticism left in his old body as you saw (Sunday). He can get out of his own way and make something happen with his feet. So that's probably the biggest difference. He doesn't have the big, big arm like Daunte has, but there aren't a lot of quarterbacks that have the big, big arm like Daunte has, either."

Johnson, for one, has no interest in being Culpepper or anyone else.

"The most important thing is to be yourself," he said. "You can't fake it. The proof is in putting up points. The proof is in winning ballgames. When I work out in the spring, I'm not in it for my health. Careers are very short. You're not promised tomorrow. I enjoy playing the game. If it takes me having to prove somebody wrong, then so be it for those people."

Confidence in Johnson seems high among his teammates, and the injury to Culpepper certainly will serve as a rallying point for the Vikings.

"The guys have been around Brad since we signed him and have seen what he's accomplished," Tice said. "He completed a lot of balls in the preseason, completed a lot of balls in practice. He has done a great job against our No. 1 defense in the two-minute drill. There is a respect there for Bradley and Brad has won a lot of games. Brad has something I don't have. He has a Super Bowl ring. I think there will be instantaneous respect for Brad throughout the team and the organization. That's one of the reasons we signed him."

Johnson, who began his career in the Vikings organization, returned during the off-season after four seasons in Tampa Bay. He led the Buccaneers to a victory over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

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