Tennessee Titans Sign Former Vikings Defender

The offseason continues to roll along, with free agency moves still trickling in from the transaction wire. This week, another move was made involving a former Vikings defender. The Tennessee Titans decided to bring aboard defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson, per KPRC 2 Houston‘s Aaron Wilson, who tweeted, “Titans signing veteran defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, per a league source.”

Johnson was picked by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft after spending his collegiate career with the University of Iowa. During four years with the Hawkeyes, he recorded 113 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and 12.5 sacks while also recovering a fumble. This included 10 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in his senior season of 2016.

Former Vikings Defender
Dec 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham (30) and defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson (94) celebrate after the game against Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson spent four years with the Vikings to begin his NFL career from 2017-2020. He didn’t see much playing time during Minnesota’s run to the NFC Championship Game, playing just five regular season games, but he did appear in each of Minnesota’s playoff games, recording two tackles in postseason play.

In the following three seasons, Johnson would be an ironman for Minnesota, playing all 16 games in each year from 2018-2020. He actually made 16 starts at defensive tackle for the Vikings in the 2020 season, recording 44 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks along the way. In all, over his four years in Minnesota, he appeared in 53 regular season games, including 20 starts, and he recorded 87 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks.

Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson (94) celebrates after the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Following that 2020 season, he hit free agency, looking to get a lucrative contract for his performance in the previous year. He ended up signing with the Houston Texans and played 12 games during 2021, putting together 23 tackles, including a pair of tackles for loss.

2022 was a bit of a strange year for Johnson, spending time with three separate teams. Those teams were the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Houston Texans. The defensive tackle didn’t appear in a game with the Saints, instead landing on IR in August before being waived by the team.

Tennessee Titans Sign Former Vikings Defender
Aug 14, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Houston Texans defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (91) recovers a fumble against Green Bay Packers quarterback Kurt Benkert (7) and offensive tackle Cole Van Lanen (78) during a preseason game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK

The Atlanta Falcons then signed Johnson to their practice squad in October before the Texans once again picked him up three weeks later by signing him off Atlanta’s squad. He played three games for the Texans, including a start, before being waived once again and landing back in Atlanta on November 21st.

To close the year, Johnson would play six games for the Falcons, making 10 tackles. Now, the defensive lineman heads to Tennessee hoping to make an impact on Mike Vrabel’s defense as they try to improve upon their 7-10 record from the 2022 season.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.