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  1. #1
    Wiggles67's Avatar
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    Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    http://nfl.com/news/story/9083068

    Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround


    Tom Pelissero
    Special to NFL.com

    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (Dec. 7, 2005) -- Minnesota wasn't Brad Johnson's first choice when he hit the free-agent market in March.

    Truth be told, the NFL veteran didn't even discuss the possibility of his returning to his original team before the signing period began.

    After being relegated to the bench four games into his fourth season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- the same team he led to victory in Super Bowl XXXVII two years earlier -- Johnson, 37, was eager to find another starting job, or at least the chance to compete for one. He and agent Phil Williams viewed the Daunte Culpepper-led Vikings as anything but.

    When discussions with Chicago, Detroit and Miami proved fruitless, however, Johnson weighed his options and, against Williams' advice, avoided a potentially summer-long waiting game by signing on to be Culpepper's backup.

    "Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don't," said Johnson, a ninth-round draft pick out of Florida State in 1992. "I didn't get what I wanted in the offseason. There were already some commitments that were already made.

    "Coming here, I've talked about it a thousand times -- I felt very comfortable playing for (head coach Mike) Tice. We've played together (for three seasons in Minnesota in the 1990s). We've been together. I felt comfortable with the situation.

    "Obviously, it was a different situation with Pep, but I jumped on the bandwagon."

    A trendy Super Bowl pick before the season started, Minnesota was on its way to a fifth loss in seven games Oct. 30 at Carolina when a tackle left Culpepper with three torn ligaments in his right knee.

    Johnson closed out the game, throwing a late touchdown in the 38-13 blowout, and made his first start seven days later against Detroit at the Metrodome. The Vikings beat the Lions 27-14 and haven't lost since, rising back into the NFC playoff chase at 7-5.

    During the five-game winning streak, Johnson is 87-for-135 passing for 939 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions -- modest numbers, but effective enough for the Vikings to turn around what once looked like a lost season.

    "He just manages the game very well," offensive coordinator Steve Loney said. "There's nothing he hasn't seen on the football field. He doesn't turn the ball over; he doesn't make many mistakes. He just gets the job done."

    Johnson's 92.6 passer rating -- more than 20 points greater than Culpepper's this season and only three-tenths off a career best -- would be good enough for second in the NFC behind injured St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger if Johnson had the minimum number of attempts.

    Johnson's efficiency has been most evident in the red zone, where he has led the Vikings to 11 touchdowns in 18 trips. In 17 tries under Culpepper, Minnesota reached the end zone only four times.

    And despite long-standing knocks against his arm strength, Johnson (6-foot-5, 226 pounds) also has gotten the job done from long distance. His 80-yard touchdown toss to Koren Robinson in a 21-16 victory last week at Detroit traveled more than 50 yards in the air.

    "Brad is a great athlete. I've seen a lot of things that he's done, and he's ... like a jack of all trades," running back Mewelde Moore said. "He's capable of doing a lot of things, and he's very, very intelligent and experienced."

    Sixty-seven victories in 111 career starts -- not to mention a Super Bowl ring -- also give Johnson credibility in the locker room.

    "We're able to listen to him, because he's been there and done that," receiver Nate Burleson said. "Some of the things that he's been able to implement in this offense have been a success for us. That's just a credit to what he's done in this league."

    Still two games behind first-place Chicago in the NFC North, the Vikings will aim for victory No. 6 in the second Johnson era Dec. 11 against the St. Louis Rams -- the same team that paved the first step in Johnson's exit from Minnesota seven years ago. A fractured leg suffered at St. Louis in Week 2 of the 1998 season -- Johnson's second as a full-time starter -- opened the door for veteran backup Randall Cunningham, who led the Vikings to the single-season points record and the NFC championship game.

    Despite Cunningham's age, the Vikings rewarded him with a multiyear contact and shipped Johnson to Washington for three draft picks, including the Redskins' No. 1 selection in 1999.

    A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Culpepper threw only six touchdown passes and committed 15 turnovers (including 12 interceptions) before his injury. Despite a plethora of potential excuses -- the departure of star receiver Randy Moss and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, an inexperienced offensive line, no true No. 1 running back -- he shouldered much of the blame for Minnesota's slow start.

    But teammates are quick to defend Culpepper's effort amid their early-season struggles.

    "As an offense, we're playing better," tight end Jermaine Wiggins said. "Brad's doing a great job and he's doing some really good things out there. But I definitely think as an offense -- tight ends, wide receivers, running backs, O-line -- we're just playing better as a unit. We're not doing the things that were hurting us early in the season."

    Johnson has three seasons remaining on the four-year, $6 million contract he signed with Minnesota in March. Culpepper, who has $8 million in salary and bonuses due next year and is signed through 2013, faces another eight months of rehab before he can consider playing again.

    The team's second-half resurgence notwithstanding, Tice said there will be no controversy when Culpepper is ready to return.

    "Daunte is my guy," Tice said. "He has always been my guy. I am just like everyone else, praying that he can get through this thing with the great spirits that he has shown us that he has.

    "Absolutely, if I'm the coach, he is my guy."




    I dont think anyone has posted this. what I found was interesting was the last few lines about C-pep being the QB regardless of what Brad does the rest of the year.

    "I choose my company by the beating of their hearts, not the swelling of their heads"

  2. #2
    cajunvike's Avatar
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    Re: Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    It's what Tice HAS to say...what with all the money that they have committed to Pep...but rest assured, Tice won't hesitiate to pull Pep more quickly if he stumbles out of the gate when he returns.
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  3. #3
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    I anticipate with the seriousness of his injuries he will be eased back into the game. He may start but I think you will see the same offensive package, more I formation, more max pro..... Which is a good thing imo

    I think it will help him improve.

  4. #4
    Wiggles67's Avatar
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    Re: Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    "Del Rio" wrote:
    I anticipate with the seriousness of his injuries he will be eased back into the game. He may start but I think you will see the same offensive package, more I formation, more max pro..... Which is a good thing imo

    I think it will help him improve.
    Very good point Del.

    That was my biggest beef with the coaching staff this year was as C-Pep continued to struggle the coaching staff did nothing to change the play calls, shorten the routes, run the ball more, to take some of the pressure off of Duante, they just kept throwing him under the bus.

    "I choose my company by the beating of their hearts, not the swelling of their heads"

  5. #5
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    "Wiggles67" wrote:
    "Del Rio" wrote:
    I anticipate with the seriousness of his injuries he will be eased back into the game. He may start but I think you will see the same offensive package, more I formation, more max pro..... Which is a good thing imo

    I think it will help him improve.
    Very good point Del.

    That was my biggest beef with the coaching staff this year was as C-Pep continued to struggle the coaching staff did nothing to change the play calls, shorten the routes, run the ball more, to take some of the pressure off of Duante, they just kept throwing him under the bus.
    No doubt, I agree completely. I feel if the coaches ran this type of offense with Culpepper we would have had the same results.

    That's why I'm not a big fan of Tice. He knows what Culpepper is physically able to do so he organizes the offense around that. It just isn't good football. The guy was struggling so we should have tightened it up and let him control the offense. The big plays will come.

    My biggest fear besides he is not playing football ever again (because i find that sad) is he comes back and Tice thinks "ok Pepper is back" lets change the offense.

    I think the injury will help him because Tice will be forced to keep him in a max pro, offense with multiple short route formations and when it works he wont be able to change it.

  6. #6
    StillPurple is offline Hall of Famer
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    Re: Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    There are several things I really like about Brad Johnson:

    - Quick read. He reads the defense while going to the line, while snapping, and while backpeddling.

    - Quick release. Unlike some QBs I won't name now, Brad releases the ball fast. He doesn't hold it and hold it and hold it.

    - No "I am on SportsCenter" mentality. Many NFL QBs are willing to take one or two INTs, if they can make the rest of their high-risk passes look really good on Sports Center (threading the ball between 2 or 3 defenders, a la Favre or Manning). Brad is NOT willing to do that, and I suspect he doesn't give a *scheiss* how he looks on SC. Favre does it all the time. So do many QBs. The really good ones like Tom Brady and Brad don't. (actually, this point was made in a recent article on Tom Brady, so I am just parroting that, but I also think it applies to Brad).

    - Experience. He is the exact opposite of a young QB who gets flustered.

    - Stoicism. The good NFL QBs have this. Don't show emotion, unless it is positive emotion after a TD, etc. (QBs like Joey Harrington are way too quick to show negative emotion on the field. Guys like Jake Plummer flip off the fans, etc. Brad is even-keel).

    - "3 and out mentality". So what if he throws an incompletion. Let the punter come in and punt.

    ... Brad just "manages" the game.

    .... but he won't lose it for you...

  7. #7
    gregair13's Avatar
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    Re: Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    "Del Rio" wrote:
    "Wiggles67" wrote:
    "Del Rio" wrote:
    I anticipate with the seriousness of his injuries he will be eased back into the game. He may start but I think you will see the same offensive package, more I formation, more max pro..... Which is a good thing imo

    I think it will help him improve.
    Very good point Del.

    That was my biggest beef with the coaching staff this year was as C-Pep continued to struggle the coaching staff did nothing to change the play calls, shorten the routes, run the ball more, to take some of the pressure off of Duante, they just kept throwing him under the bus.
    No doubt, I agree completely. I feel if the coaches ran this type of offense with Culpepper we would have had the same results.

    That's why I'm not a big fan of Tice. He knows what Culpepper is physically able to do so he organizes the offense around that. It just isn't good football. The guy was struggling so we should have tightened it up and let him control the offense. The big plays will come.

    My biggest fear besides he is not playing football ever again (because i find that sad) is he comes back and Tice thinks "ok Pepper is back" lets change the offense.

    I think the injury will help him because Tice will be forced to keep him in a max pro, offense with multiple short route formations and when it works he wont be able to change it.
    and i agree complete to that. the offensive we have now works because we are not turning the ball over and are making enough plays to win the game. when daunte comes back next year we must keep the same basics behind our offensive. daunte will just add more big plays to the book and he will be able to run out of trouble easier (hopefully he can still run) when protection breaks down
    We're bringing purple back.

  8. #8
    Lotza's Avatar
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    Re: Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    i hear singer coming.


    duck and cover!

























    Go vikes!!

  9. #9
    sparkyfry is offline Waterboy
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    Re: Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    "StillPurple" wrote:
    ... No "I am on SportsCenter" mentality. Many NFL QBs are willing to take one or two INTs, if they can make the rest of their high-risk passes look really good on Sports Center (threading the ball between 2 or 3 defenders, a la Favre or Manning). Brad is NOT willing to do that, and I suspect he doesn't give a *scheiss* how he looks on SC.
    Hey, if he keeps lobbing 80-yard bombs to Koren Robinson, he'll get a few SC mentions, in spite of allegedly being an even-keeled, "boring" QB.

  10. #10
    SamDawg84 Guest

    Re: Efficient Johnson pacing Vikings' turnaround

    fire in the hole!!!!!!! lol

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