Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Johnson eager for fresh start after lost season

Posted by: under Vikings, Vikings players, Sidney Rice Updated: July 7, 2011 - 1:08 PM

Like other NFL players, Jaymar Johnson is anxious for the lockout to end so football can get back to business. But the Vikings wide receiver is especially eager to get back on the field because of his disappointing 2010 season.

Johnson spent the entire season on injured reserve after suffering a torn ligament in his left thumb in the first preseason game. Johnson's thumb healed faster than expected and he started catching passes after the fourth game but he could only sit and watch after being put on IR.

Johnson is training with Larry Fitzgerald again this offseason. The two met several years ago through Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice and have become close friends. Johnson estimates he's spent four of the past five months with Fitzgerald and stays at his home when they train in Arizona.

Johnson and Fitzgerald workout daily at the Gophers football complex while they wait for the lockout to end. Johnson, who signed a one-year contract in February before the lockout, is hoping to earn a spot in the receiver rotation this season.

A sixth-round pick in 2008, Johnson spent his first season on the practice squad, caught one pass in 2009 and missed last season because of injury. Johnson said he has no lingering problems with his thumb.

"I can’t want for this [lockout] to end so I can get into some on-on-ones and stuff," Johnson said. "I don’t like going to Mankato because I hate being on a college campus. But I’m ready for training camp to start. I don’t care where it’s at, I’m just ready to get started."

Johnson said he received a copy of new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's playbook from wide receiver Greg Camarillo, who overnighted it to him. Johnson said he's been studying the playbook at night so that he's familiar with the concepts once camp begins.

"It’s actually quite interesting," he said. "It’s real creative. We did a lot of double moves in college and that’s what we’re going to be doing at the 'X' it looks like. .... There’s only a certain amount of ways you can run each route so it’s not like there’s a million different ways. It’s just getting used to the terminology."

He said he also appreciates the opportunity to train with and learn from one of the NFL's top receivers every day in Fitzgerald.

"We push each other in everything," Johnson said. "We’re two of the most competitive people out there. In everything. Like who can go to sleep the fastest. I beat him in everything. Just kidding."

 

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