Scout's Notebook: DL Tremaine Johnson

Find out more about a potential sleeper among the team's rookie free agent class in former LSU defensive lineman Tremaine Johnson, who was coached by Vikings' assistant Karl Dunbar as a freshman.

#67, Tremaine Johnson, DL (6021, 285, 4.75-5.12) Louisiana State

Notes: Born Tremaine Weston Johnson, 9/26/85. Parents are Willie and Doris Ward. Has three siblings – James, Kaytasha and Kelvin. Coached by Mike Coker at Galena Park High School in Galena Park, Texas. A four-star blue-chip athlete by most recruiting publications, he recorded 113 tackles, including 12 tackles-for-loss and 6 sacks as a junior. Rated the No. 16 defensive end prospect by and No. 21 by

College: Recruited as a 6-foot-2, 255-pound strong-side Tremaine Johnsondefensive end with 4.72 speed, a 330-pound bench press and squat of 460 pounds. Chose LSU over Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Arkansas. Redshirted as a true freshman in 2004. Saw action in 9 games in 2005, posting 7 tackles, 2 tackles-for-loss, one sack (in overtime win vs. Alabama) and 7 quarterback hurries as part of a rotation with Melvin Oliver and Chase Pittman. Saw limited action in 10 games (mostly on special teams) in 2006, recording 2 tackles. Backup at left end behind Tyson Jackson (first-round pick, No. 3 overall, by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009), playing in 13 of 14 games in 2007; had 11 tackles, 1.5 TFL, one sack, one forced fumble and 3 quarterback hurries. Played in 13 games (two starts) as a senior in 2008; finished with 23 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks and 2 pass deflections. Graduated in December 2008 with a degree in general studies. Played in 45 games with two starts, finishing his career at LSU with 43 tackles, 7 TFL and 4.5 sacks. Vikings’ assistant Karl Dunbar was Johnson’s defensive line coach for one year at LSU before he came to the Vikings.

Pre-Draft: Posted a 5.06 40-yard dash and recorded a 1.73 10-yard dash, 2.93 20-yard dash, 25 ½-inch vertical jump, 8’1” broad jump, 4.63 short shuttle, 7.65 three-cone drill and did 23 reps at 225 pounds during LSU’s Pro Day on March 16.

Pro: Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Vikings following the 2009 NFL Draft. Reportedly received a $20,000 signing bonus to join the Vikings.

Positives: Good athlete with some upfield speed, quickness and explosiveness. Has some speed off the edge and flashes as a pass rusher. Strong for size. Has improved his hand use and quickness. Quick off the ball. Plays with a lot of intensity. Can shoot the gaps and penetrate the opponent’s backfield. Gets off blocks and is relentless in pursuit. Hustles to chase plays down from behind. Played in a big-time program in the SEC and was surrounded by a lot of talent (Jackson and top-10 pick by the Chiefs a year ago, Glenn Dorsey). Versatile; he has lined up at nose tackle, right and left defensive end and in the ‘three’ technique at defensive tackle. Team guy. Solid character. Hard-working competitor.

Negatives: Average natural size. Lacks top-end bulk and will likely get engulfed by larger offensive linemen once they get into him. Needs continued technique development. Has never been a full-time player, starting just two games during his entire college career.

Summary: Overshadowed by others throughout his college career, Johnson has some upside potential as an up-the-field penetrator, especially in a one-gap scheme. The Vikings obviously like his long-range potential, given the signing bonus they offered to ink him. It will be interesting to see what Dunbar can do with Johnson in the NFL.

Similar to:  Spencer Johnson, an undrafted free agent by the Vikings in 2004, who spent four seasons in Minnesota before receiving a lucrative free agent offer from the Buffalo Bills in 2008.

What they said:

“He could surprise some people. He’s got good speed off the edge and really flashed his skills as a pass rusher.” -Mike Detillier, draft analyst

Other links:

College bio

Scout’s Notebook archive:

WR Percy Harvin

OT Phil Loadholt

CB Asher Allen

LB Jasper Brinkley

S Jamarca Sanford

S Devon Hall

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