Vikings reserve defensive tackle Tom Johnson was found not guilty today in Hennepin County court on misdemeanor charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer, Johnson’s attorney said.
Johnson’s trial began Monday and caused him to miss the team’s voluntary organized team activities throughout the week. His attorney, David Valentini, said it took the jury just 15 minutes to reach a verdict today.
“We’re very happy,” Valentini said. “He left immediately to go see his daughter down in New Orleans. He’ll be back for minicamp on Monday. All along he steadfastly insisted he was innocent and he won his day in court.”
Johnson was arrested Oct. 5 at 3:18 a.m. outside the Seven Steakhouse downtown. Police used chemical spray and a stun gun during the arrest.
The 30-year-old was briefly jailed and released later that day on $78 bond.
Johnson and his agent, Bardia Ghahremani, later claimed he was calm and cooperative and said that the police, acted inappropriately. They also released a video from Johnson’s cellphone showing a uniformed officer slapping away the phone.
Ghahremani said Friday that Johnson plans to file a lawsuit against the Minneapolis Police Department, but won’t do it until after the Vikings season ends. That means a suit would not be filed until early 2016.
“For me, I just feel like people in authority should be accountable,” Johnson said before a Vikings practice three days after the incident. “If they do something negligent, they should be accountable just like anyone else.”
Johnson played all 16 games in 2014 and recorded a career-high 6.5 sacks. The Vikings re-signed him in March to a three-year, $7 million contract.
The Pan-Am Games, which run from July 10-26 in Toronto this summer, still actually include baseball (unlike the Olympics).
And per a tweet from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and the MLB Network, it sounds like Team USA has a keen eye on a certain Twins prospect for the tournament:
“USA Baseball wants @Twins top prospect Byron Buxton for Pan-Am Games roster if he’s not called up by July, source says.”
As noted by Morosi, Buxton’s OPS has climbed to .815 at Clas AA Chattanooga (thanks to 24 extra base hits, including an absurd 11 triples). The Pan-Am Games are only a month away, so he’d have to be on a pretty fast track to be called up before then.
The Eagles parted ways with Evan Mathis yesterday, releasing the two-time Pro Bowl guard after he skipped OTAs in an effort to get a new contract.
So naturally, Vikings fans are asking if Mathis could make sense here.
The answer is yes. But one problem is he makes sense in a lot of places.
Mathis was a journeyman backup before arriving in Philadelphia in 2011. There, with already seven seasons under his belt, Mathis finally became a full-time starter and thrived after Chip Kelly was hired. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2013 and has been selected to the past two Pro Bowls.
Mathis turns 34 in November and is presumably looking for a multi-year contract, but he would be an upgrade on many NFL offensive lines.
So count on him having at least a handful of suitors. And if that’s the case, Mathis will be able to weigh all the pros and cons then pick his next team.
It is not known if the Vikings are one of those suitors, but they did balk at trading for Mathis when the Eagles were shopping him this offseason. Now that draft compensation is not required, it could be a different story.
But as I said, the Vikings, if they are actually interested, would not be alone in their pursuit of Mathis. So would playing for the Vikings appeal to him?
For starters, the Vikings have salary cap space and an open competition at guard, where young linemen such as T.J. Clemmings and David Yankey — oh hey, I wrote this story in today’s newspaper about Yankey — are duking it out with veteran Joe Berger. Mathis would likely be an immediate upgrade, but developing your young players is always preferable.
And Mathis might want to play for another playoff contender. Would he see the Vikings as one? They went 7-9 last season, but a couple of notable media outlets have pegged them as a top-10 team in their premature power rankings because of their young talent, including Teddy Bridgewater.
Plus, Mathis has familiarity with head coach Mike Zimmer, who was on the staff in Cincinnati when Mathis played there, and offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, who coached Mathis in Carolina early in his NFL career.
Taking all of that into consideration, it seems as Mathis could be a fit here if the Vikings would prefer to have a proven veteran at their vacant guard spot instead one of the inexperienced linemen they are grooming there.
But no one should blame them for sticking with their youth movement.
And no one should be surprised if Mathis prefers other opportunities.