The Vikings released veteran offensive guard Charlie Johnson.
The 30-year-old spent the past four seasons with the Vikings, starting 61 of 64 games. In 2014, he struggled at left guard before missing two games late in the season because of an ankle injury. Johnson returned for the season finale, and it likely will end up being his final game in a Vikings uniform.
Johnson signed a two-year deal with the Vikings last offseason to stay with the team. By releasing Johnson, the team cleared $2.5 million in cap space without any dead money staying on the cap.
Johnson is now free to sign with any team.
The Vikings are expected to prioritize improving the offensive line this offseason after that group disappointed last season. With the other four starters from the 2014 season opener expected to return, the team could add a veteran guard in free agency, select one in April's NFL draft or both.
Veteran backups Joe Berger and Vlad Ducasse are scheduled to reach free agency March 10.
Peterson statement omits Vikings
A day after Judge David Doty overturned Adrian Peterson's suspension and sent the matter back to the NFL — which quickly appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals — the Vikings running back issued this statement:
"As I prepare for my return to football, I am still focused on my family and continue to work to become a better father every day. I want to express my gratitude for all of the support I have received from the fans, NFLPA, [NFLPA lawyer] Jeffrey Kessler, and my agents Ben Dogra, Tracy Lartigue, and Mark Heligman from Relativity Sports."
Peterson's statement was notable since it did not include any mention of the Vikings. On Thursday night, Dogra released a statement to the Associated Press that read, in part, "Adrian is an exceptional community member, father, husband and athlete who will continue to contribute meaningfully on and off the field. Any NFL team will be fortunate to have Adrian on its roster as he will consistently serve as a strong leader and impactful performer."