So the Vikings are expected to sign journeyman punter Leo Araguz off the street, shelve Johnson probably for the season and release one of their underused defensive linemen, probably Cedric Killings, who has been inactive all season.
"I still like Eddie Johnson, and he's still our future at punter," Tice said Monday after Johnson mishandled a snap for the third consecutive week and had a net average of 29.3 yards in a 13-10 loss at Chicago.
"He's a very good young talent, but it goes back to making plays and eliminating mistakes. Eddie's problem is all mental. He has all the ability in the world, but for whatever reason, like a lot of young players, he doesn't relax and let it go."
Johnson has cost the Vikings 10 points in the past three games. He bobbled a snap three weeks ago, allowing the Rams to block his punt and score a touchdown on the next play. Against Chicago, he dropped a snap and was tackled at the Vikings 20. The Bears turned it into a field goal and a 13-3 lead.
In the 34-7 victory over Seattle two weeks ago, he also dropped a snap, but picked it up and ran for a first down.
Johnson is averaging only 39.1 yards per punt with a net of 32.6.
The signing of Araguz signals just how desperate the Vikings are for a punter. Araguz has punted in three regular season NFL games since 1999. He played with Oakland from 1996-99 and Detroit briefly in 2001.
Vikings special teams coach Rusty Tillman coached Araguz in Oakland and also with the New York/New Jersey Hit Men of the XFL in 2000. Tillman was the head coach of the Hit Men.
Tillman also got an extended look at Araguz this past summer when the Vikings and Chiefs had combined practices. Araguz was in the Chiefs' training camp.