Allison analyzes dangerous RB Chris Johnson

Vikings wide receiver Aundrae Allison knows Titans running back Chris Johnson well (at one point they were dating women who were best friends) from their days together at East Carolina. Allison talked about the explosive back, his confidence, how he compares to Adrian Peterson and Allison's thoughts on Johnson versus the Vikings' run defense. Plus, get the final injury report and other notes.

Aundrae Allison has inside information on Titans running back Chris Johnson, one of the most impressive young backs in the league. Allison and Johnson remain friends after spending two years together at East Carolina, and Allison continues to see a progression in the skills of the Tennessee speedster that Allison's Vikings will face this Sunday.

"When he was a sophomore, he was young at what he did. He was really feeling out the system because we had new coaches. When his junior year came, he got way aggressive. He hit the weight room hard and he just stayed hungry," Allison said. "When (the Vikings) had an off-week last year, I went to visit him and I knew he was going to be special. I knew he was going to go early in the draft. He killed Central Florida and he was like a man against kids out there."

The Titans must have thought so, too. They made him the 24th overall selection in April's draft and Johnson is rewarding that confidence. Through three weeks, Johnson is already the league's seventh-leading rusher with 276 yards on 51 carries (an impressive 5.5-yard average).

Allison and Johnson became friends at East Carolina, and the running back introduced the wide receiver to his now-ex-girlfriend, as the two women were best friends (Johnson is still dating the same woman). Allison returned the favor by setting up a meeting in Miami this offseason between Johnson and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

"When we were in college, he used to imitate Adrian and he used to imitate LenDale White. He ended up with LenDale and I'm here with Adrian, so he was a fan of him and they got to meet," Allison said. "That was a big thing for him. I don't think Adrian knew it. … Still to this day he asks, ‘What does A.D. do different?' because he wants to be the best at what he does."

Allison said there are similarities and differences between Peterson and Johnson. The speed is similar, but the power is an advantage for Peterson.

"(Johnson) still hits the hole hard as if he's 220," Allison said of the 5-11, 200-pound speedster. "He's so explosive. The only thing I feel like Adrian has on him is that ability to be able to take contact on every play and give contact. C.J., that's not one of his strengths. I don't feel like he likes to dish out the contact as much because he don't weigh as much."

But …

"If one guy misses, it's over, like he showed in college. That's just what kind of player he is."

So far this season, Johnson has the Titans' only run over 20 yards – a 51-yarder at Cincinnati two weeks ago. But, despite going against the NFL's top rush defense from the past two years, Allison said Johnson is confident in his abilities, and that includes this Sunday.

"He feels like he's going to exploit us, do this and do that to us, but I'd just be telling him that this is a different level than in college," said Allison, who talks to Johnson at least weekly, including this week. "I've seen our defense shut down the best backs – LaDainian (Tomlinson), Willie Parker. I just had to break the reality to him. No knock on other teams, but our team is different. Our personality is totally different. That's one thing we take pride in is stopping the run. I don't feel like that's going to be a factor at all."

NOTES

  • The Vikings listed five players as questionable for Sunday's game: LB Vinny Ciurciu (knee), DE Ray Edwards (shoulder), RB Adrian Peterson (hamstring), RB Chester Taylor (foot), WR Sidney Rice (knee). Left tackle Artis Hicks (elbow) is probable.

    For the Titans, QB Vince Young (knee/hamstring) is out. S Nick Harper (ankle), WR Justin McCareins (groin) and RB LenDale White (shoulder) are probable.

  • Special teams coach Paul Ferraro on what looked to be a serious knee injury to Ciurciu, one of the team's special teams leaders: "That would have been a big blow to our special teams for sure, first losing Heath (Farwell) and if we would have lost Vinny, that would have been critical."

  • The Vikings aren't saying that they will automatically give Bryant McKinnie his starting position back immediately upon his return from a four-game suspension. "When he comes in, you'll have to assess that and see where his wind is," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. Head coach Brad Childress said he wasn't inclined to look ahead to next week, when McKinnie returns.

  • Linebacker David Herron's brother, Dan "Boom" Herron, is the backup running back for Beanie Wells at Ohio State and will be facing the Minnesota Gophers this weekend. Boom has 212 yards rushing for the Buckeyes this year.

  • The second quarter is by far when the Titans offense is most dangerous. They have scored 35 of their 72 points in the second quarter. It is also the quarter their defense is most vulnerable. They have given up 20 of their 29 points in the second quarter.


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