Johnson to compete for starting safety job

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG and JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 1, 2011 - 12:10 AM

Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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MANKATO — A lot of people are disappointed in how Tyrell Johnson's once-promising NFL career has unfolded to this point. Add him to the list.

"Things didn't go as planned for me last year, or, really, anytime since I've been here," Johnson said Sunday at the start of training camp. "But the way I look at it is I've got a tremendous opportunity."

Among this year's position battles is free safety, where veteran Madieu Williams was released in a salary cap move. Johnson, Jamarca Sanford and rookie Mistral Raymond will compete for the job, coach Leslie Frazier said Sunday.

"It's an open door right now, which is good for our ... team," Frazier said. "It's healthy competition, and we're going to try to identify the best two guys."

While Sanford and Raymond were late-round draft picks, Johnson was a second-round pick out of Arkansas State in 2008. The Vikings thought enough of him to trade a fourth- round pick to move up for him.

Draft picks all signed

All 10 draft picks signed and reported on time, causing happy Frazier to say, "That's a big deal for us, especially with the offseason being the way it was and trying to get camp started."

The team also announced several additions, including the signing of undrafted rookie Cedric McKinley, a former Gophers defensive end. Other new faces include running back Tristan Davis, tackle Scott Kooistra, linebacker Jonathan Gilmore and receiver Ryan Lincoln.

The Vikings also announced the re-signing of safety Husain Abdullah, linebacker Erin Henderson, defensive tackle Fred Evans, safety Eric Frampton and kicker Ryan Longwell.

Herrera to PUP

Right guard Anthony Herrera is expected to begin training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list, while cornerback Cedric Griffin will not. Griffin tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the second game last season. Herrera suffered the same injury eight games later.

Chris DeGeare, who started five games last season, will work with the first team until Herrera returns.

Griffin will be limited in practice. He has torn both of his ACLs over the past two seasons.

"We're going to monitor his progress and take him along at a little slower place than the rest of the players," Frazier said.

Day to remember

The Vikings are planning to honor the memory of tackle Korey Stringer, who died at the age of 27 on this date 10 years ago due to complications brought on by heat stroke during a training camp practice.

The team will observe a moment of silence for Stringer before beginning practice at 3 p.m., and the team's website will have a video tribute to Stringer and a photo gallery.


• Frazier said the team has 12 to 14 players who won't be able to practice until Thursday because that's when the new collective bargaining agreement is expected to take effect. One player who can't practice is Donovan McNabb.

The No. 1 quarterback in the meantime, Frazier said, is "the incumbent. The guy who has the most experience, and right now that's Joe Webb for us."

• Defensive end Brian Robison showed up at training camp as a starter for the first time. He replaces Ray Edwards, now in Atlanta via free agency.

• Kevin Williams still is waiting to hear from the league regarding the four-game suspension he faces after dropping the StarCaps legal battle.

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