Vikings safety Johnson arrested for drunken driving

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 21, 2011 - 12:12 AM

Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson was picked up early Tuesday in Minneapolis by the State Patrol on suspicion of drunken driving.

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Tyrell Johnson

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Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson was picked up early Tuesday in Minneapolis by the State Patrol on suspicion of drunken driving. A preliminary breath test measured Johnson's blood-alcohol content at 0.12 percent, the state patrol said. The legal limit for driving in Minnesota is 0.08 percent.

Johnson, who just missed a potential game-saving interception Sunday in the Vikings' loss to Tampa Bay, was stopped on the ramp from northbound Interstate 94 to westbound I-394 on the western edge of downtown shortly before 2 a.m., according to the patrol. He was brought to the jail at about 3:15 a.m. and released about two hours later.

The state trooper noted that Johnson smelled of alcohol, that his speech was slurred and that his eyes were bloodshot and watery, said Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. Johnson was cooperative at all times, Roeske added.

Jeff Anderson, the Vikings' director of corporate communications, said in an e-mail that the team is aware of the arrest and would have no further comment. Johnson did not respond to a phone message.

Johnson, 26, is in his fourth NFL season. He competed with Jamarca Sanford throughout training camp and the preseason for the starting strong safety position. Sanford won the starting job right before the start of the regular season but has not distanced himself enough to avoid having to rotate with Johnson throughout games.

Coach Leslie Frazier was asked Sunday why they're still rotating. He said: "We're still trying to evaluate the two of them and see if there's any separation. Right now, they're so even, both deserve to play."

Star Tribune staff writer Mark Craig contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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