View Full Version : Vikings: For now, Johnson is No. 1 at QB

04-07-2006, 07:21 AM
Vikings: For now, Johnson is No. 1 at QB (http://www.startribune.com/510/story/356554.html)

Star Tribune

Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune
Last update: April 06, 2006 – 11:41 PM

After leading the Vikings to a 7-2 finish last season, Brad Johnson is back as the team's starting quarterback. But for how long?

It always has been a "yes, but" proposition. As in, Yes, Brad Johnson is our quarterback, but ... . So why should anything change now?
Sometime this morning, a whistle will blow at Winter Park and Vikings players will take their positions for an early veteran minicamp. Johnson will resume his role as the team's quarterback -- a tenure that could last a weekend, a summer, a year or three years.

"You never know how things are going to work out," Johnson said this week. "Whether it's a trade, the draft or whatever. I've been around long enough and seen enough quarterbacks come and go not to get caught up in all that. Whatever happens will happen."

Yes, Johnson once again is the Vikings' starter following last month's trade of Daunte Culpepper to Miami. But before Johnson took his first practice snap, the Vikings already were plotting to find his replacement.

They have discussed trade parameters for Atlanta backup Matt Schaub, are reviewing film of dozens of college quarterbacks and appear determined to add a young player at the position in some fashion this month.

All along, new coach Brad Childress has been comforted by the presence of Johnson, whose 15-year career has produced the third-best winning percentage (.602) among active quarterbacks with 100 or more starts. Johnson won Super Bowl XXXVII for Tampa Bay while running an offense similar to Childress', and he appears to be developing a strong relationship with a coach whose differences with Culpepper have been well-documented.

"I know where his heart is in no uncertain terms," Childress said. "He's looked me in the eye and told me that."

Said Johnson: "There is respect on both sides of the spectrum."

At the same time, Johnson acknowledged he and his teammates are in the beginning stages of an evaluation process, and are in some ways starting over with a new coaching staff and a restructured front office. He described the vibe among players as "on edge."

"You're trying to prove yourself and you're trying to learn a new system," Johnson said. "You look around, and there are walls in the building that are being knocked down [for renovations]. There is a lot happening now. You're on edge and you probably will be until the season starts."

And perhaps beyond, considering the Vikings' fluidity at the position. Childress has referred to Johnson as "our starter right now," and Johnson will turn 38 in September. If it's up to Johnson, however, he'll keep playing beyond his 40th birthday.

"I keep in shape," he said. "The way I play, I think I can play another three years. Then I'll see how I feel after that."

Such a time span is an ideal bridge to the Vikings' next quarterback, especially if that player is drafted this month. It also gives Childress a head start by installing his offense through a quarterback that already knows it.

Although some of the terminology and key words are different, Johnson said he feels "very, very comfortable" with the offense after spending three weeks in the Vikings' offseason program.

"I'm grateful for another chance to be a starter," Johnson said. "[But] I didn't feel like I ever did anything wrong in the first place. Your résumé speaks for itself over time. Hopefully it has done that for me. This is a great opportunity."

Johnson compiled an 88.9 passer rating after replacing Culpepper midway through the season, completing 62.6 percent of his passes for 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. Most important, he led the Vikings to a 7-2 finish.

Many people inside and outside the organization consider Johnson a better fit for Childress' offense than Culpepper.

"All that was none of my business," Johnson said. "But Pep seems to be happy, and as an organization we're moving on."

04-07-2006, 08:38 AM
just as long as mike mcmahon never takes a meaningful snap this season

04-07-2006, 10:30 AM
He should be sitting in Shaun Hills spot after preseason, whatever rookie we get will be a better choice :lol: If not something has gone horribly wrong and the seanson will be over.