Brad Johnson (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
The first game of Brad Johnson’s return to the Vikings was also a “bounty” game, according to what an anonymous Redskins player told CBS DC. Johnson was targeted to be taken out of the game by former Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, according to the source.
It appears that Brett Favre may not have been the only Vikings quarterback targeted by Gregg Williams.
According to David Elfin of CBS DC, a Washington D.C.-based CBS affiliate, in 2006, after Brad Johnson left the Redskins and returned to the Vikings for his second stint, Williams put a bounty on him. Williams, who was the Redskins’ defensive coordinator at the time, dropped $15,000 on a table with the instruction that “Brad Johnson doesn’t finish the game,” according to an unnamed player source in Elfin’s article.
In the debut of new Vikings head coach Brad Childress, Johnson was making his first start as a reunited member of the Vikings and Williams was looking to make an impression in the season-opening Monday night game.
As it turns out, nobody collected on the bounty. Johnson led the Vikings to a 19-16 win in the season opener and Johnson finished the game. Perhaps Williams knew what he was doing, because Johnson had a solid game and led the Vikings to the win.
Elin said another player couldn’t confirm that it was $15,000, but did confirm that Williams offered the bounty – which the player said he had never heard of prior to that.
As the backlash of the Williams suspension comes forward, it’s becoming clearer all the time that the bounty program not only existed when he was in New Orleans, but had ties back to his days in Washington and Buffalo. It’s one thing to target elite quarterbacks like Favre, Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newtown, but also players like Johnson, who was a former teammate of many of the Redskins on the roster at the time.
It can only be imagined that, as more former Williams players come forward, the implication is going to be even more damning.
For now, Williams is under an indefinite suspension and can likely apply for reinstatement after one year. After more information comes to light and the depth of his bounty program gets fleshed out, the question before commissioner Roger Goodell may end up being, , will the NFL ever want him back in the fold?
According to a poll commissioned by the business group Home Field Advantage, 61 percent of Minnesotans responding to the poll support the Vikings Metrodome site stadium proposal. In similar polls last year commissioned by the Star Tribune, the poll numbers were almost completely the reverse, with more fans opposing a new stadium with public funding. Perhaps the reality that the Vikings may actually leave has changed the opinion of Minnesotans about the prospect of losing their place in the NFL.
Many believed that the Bears took advantage of the Dolphins in getting wide receiver Brandon Marshall for two third-round draft picks. As they say at times in Chicago, “Not so fast, my friend.” In a story in the South Florida Sun-Sentinal, Dolphins owners Stephen Ross spoke with an angry season ticket holder and told him that, had Marshall not been traded, he would have been cut. The fan told the paper that Ross told him the team tried for two weeks to trade Marshall with no takers and, had Chicago not stepped forward, Miami would have released Marshall and received nothing in return.
Hall of Famer Lem Barney is among the former NFL players suing the NFL as the result of long-term effects of concussions sustained during his football career. Barney, who was a star from high school to the pros, told The Detroit Free Press that, if given the chance to go back, he would have never played football, despite the elite level of success he enjoyed in the league. He played 11 years in the league and claimed he was never diagnosed with a concussion, but estimates he likely had seven or eight concussions during his playing career.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.