Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
EAGAN, Minn.—When Tom Johnson returned to the Vikings, he was given a choice between wearing No. 95 or 96. The decision was easy. When Johnson was with the Vikings from 2014-17, he played alongside Brian Robison on the defensive line and had a locker near him at Winter Park. The two became close. Robison was released by the Vikings earlier this month after 11 seasons. Johnson, a defensive tackle, signed with Minnesota on Wednesday and went through his first practice wearing Robison's old No. 96.
EAGAN, Minn. — In five seasons as Vikings coach, Mike Zimmer has had four place-kickers. He hopes the latest one will stick around. Minnesota signed veteran Dan Bailey on Tuesday, Sept. 18, to replace rookie Daniel Carlson, cut after missing three field goals in Sunday's 29-29 tie at Green Bay. Carlson had beaten out Kai Forbath for the job, who had taken over for Blair Walsh in mid-November 2016. "We've been trying to get that position solidified," Zimmer said Wednesday. "If we can get that position solidified like we have with the quarterback, that would be good."
EAGAN, Minn. — Defensive tackle Tom Johnson is back with the Vikings. According to a source, Johnson, released by Seattle last week, will sign a one-year deal with Minnesota worth about $1 million plus possible incentives worth another $500,000. Johnson played with the Vikings from 2014-17. The Vikings also made official the signing of kicker Dan Bailey to replace Daniel Carlson, who was waived Monday. To make room on the roster, the Vikings waived wide receiver Stacy Coley.
EAGAN, Minn.—Entering Sunday, Sept. 16, it had been nearly four years since the Vikings had a punt blocked. That changed early in the first quarter of a 29-29 tie at Green Bay. Geronimo Allison blocked Matt Wile's punt and Josh Jackson recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. "I just know right when I was making contact with the ball, it was, 'Huh, well, there's someone there,' '' Wile said Monday, Sept. 17, about what happened. "But after that punt, I just was focused on coming back and hitting good punts for rest of the game.''
EAGAN, Minn. — Because his father was a big fan of Deacon Jones, Sheldon Richardson grew up watching old films of the legendary pass rusher. Jones coined the term "sack," and used such tactics as the head slap on opposing offensive linemen. Richardson, a Vikings defensive tackle, can only imagine what he could accomplish if the NFL allowed him the same leniency as Jones had in the 1960s. "You remember how Deacon Jones used to get sacks and stuff like that?" Richardson said Monday, Sept. 17. "I'm pretty sure it's a way lot different now." It sure is.
The Vikings on Monday planned to waive rookie kicker Daniel Carlson and sign veteran Dan Bailey, sources said. Carlson, a fifth-round pick last April, missed three field goals in Sunday’s 29-29 tie at Green Bay. A source said the Vikings also plan to sign wide receiver Aldrick Robinson. Bailey is the second-most accurate kicker in NFL in NFL history at 88.2 percent, behind only Justin Tucker at 90.3 percent. Bailey kicked for Dallas from 2011-17 before he was released Sept. 1 in a surprise move.
EAGAN, Minn. — During training camp, Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo wore a cap with these words on the front: "Make Football Violent Again." Teammate Sheldon Richardson agrees. The Vikings' 295-pound defensive tackle was miffed at being penalized for roughing the passer in last weekend's 24-16 season-opening victory over the San Francisco 49ers. He said this week that football is "meant to be violent."
EAGAN, Minn. — Bryan Witzmann didn't expect to be cut by the Kansas City Chiefs, but at least he gets to come home. The St. Paul native started 13 games at guard last season for the Chiefs before being released on Sept. 3. He signed with the Vikings on Monday, Sept. 10. "I was definitely surprised, but I know how this industry works and sometimes they think they can get by with younger, cheaper guys," he said Wednesday. "Obviously, it sucks to get cut, but I'm happy to be home."
EAGAN, Minn. — Eleven months after his tackle broke Aaron Rodgers' collarbone, Anthony Barr is scheduled to face the Green Bay quarterback again this weekend. Barr isn't reading much into that. "It's another football game," the Vikings linebacker said of Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. On Oct. 15, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium, Barr hit Rodgers after he had rolled to his right and thrown what would be an incompletion. No penalty was called and Barr wasn't fined, but Packers coach Mike McCarthy called it "an illegal act."
ST. PAUL — So was it a Willis Reed moment when Aaron Rodgers returned from a knee injury to lead Green Bay to a dramatic comeback win Sunday night over the Chicago Bears? Ask Willis Reed. "Well, I wouldn't say that, but, I mean, it's a great moment," Reed said Tuesday, Sept. 11, in a telephone interview. Reed has great respect for Rodgers and calls him one of the best NFL quarterbacks ever. But he reminded that his big return-from-injury moment with the New York Knicks in 1970 happened in Game 7 of the NBA Finals rather than the opening game of a season.