Newly hired quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson is excited to be back to coaching quarterbacks, has looked forward to joining Leslie Frazier’s staff, and knows he will get his opportunity to give his opinion of Vince Young to the franchise.
“I know that question is going to be coming,” Johnson said in regards to Vince Young potentially being a quarterback on the Vikings radar. “So my answer is going to be this: I do have a relationship with Vince, a long relationship with him, but the head coach and ownership and the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, they’re the ones that are going to make the decision. The assistant coaches coach.”
“I am sure doing due diligence, him and every coach that is going to be available on the market is going to be discussed. I know it is going to be discussed and I’ll put my two cents worth on him because obviously I have more of a relationship with him that most. And then whatever decision is going to be made will be made. Obviously I have a good working relationship with Vince and he produced pretty well under me.”
Johnson seems like a respectful guy, leaving the Titans on decent terms, but is excited to help the Vikings reach their goals.
“Any time there has been a storm, and we certainly went through a storm last year, that is when the Titans rally back and play their best football. I wish the best for the Titans. It’s been a great run and I am sure great things are on the horizon for them,’’ Johnson said. “But now my goal is to try and get the Minnesota Vikings to where we want to get, to get to the Championship game.’’
Last year, Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola abruptly left the team for the college ranks, and Johnson was forced to become the team’s running backs coach. It is clear, however, that quarterbacks are his passion and he is excited to be back in that role with the Vikings.
“I’ve worked with quarterbacks most of my career and it is something I enjoy,’’ Johnson said. “I am proud that C.J. (Chris Johnson) had an opportunity to make the Pro Bowl. I am not proud that he was no longer the best back in football, but he was one of the top backs. The bottom line is I’m a quarterbacks’ guy, and that’s what I know. Knowing Leslie and having an opportunity to do that again, it was a no-brainer in my mind.’’
In Tennessee, Johnson was instrumental in the development (or perhaps, lack thereof) of Vince Young and also is credited with Steve McNair’s co-MVP season. He and Frazier have a long history and it sounds like Johnson is thrilled to have this opportunity to work under his good friend.
“This is something that has been in the works with Leslie and myself for 15 years,’’ Johnson said. “And the opportunity is right now.’’