is poised to be the market's top pass-rusher if the Bengals
let him walk. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The NFL free agency period does not begin until next Tuesday, but that hasn't stopped the rampant rumors and speculation from beginning to swirl. One of the most coveted players on the market will be pass-rushing specialist Michael Johnson, who could be poised to bolt the Cincinnati Bengals for a new home.
According to the NFL Network, the Minnesota Vikings will be a team to watch.
The connection between Johnson and the Vikings is obvious, with the team's new head coach Mike Zimmer being the former defensive coordinator in Cincinnati.
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In the past Zimmer has said that adding former Bengals players to his Vikings roster would help out with communication because of familiarity with the system he runs, so Johnson would be a great addition to help anchor the defensive unit.
Johnson won't come cheap, however, but that won't be a problem for the Vikings, who are currently more than $40 million under the league's salary cap. The Vikings are likely allowing perennial Pro Bowler Jared Allen to walk in free agency, so there would be an immediate void on the roster that Johnson could fill.
Under Zimmer's direction in Cincinnati, Johnson has totaled 134 tackles, 26.5 sacks, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.