‘Every single play, show them my heart’

While longing for a shot on special teams, Ian Johnson is happy with how things have transpired in the preseason games.

Play Fantasy Football at

Poll: Who is having best preseason?


Johnson: ‘I’m still fighting for a spot’

Steve Wyche catches up with Vikings running back Ian Johnson after Friday’s game against the Chiefs. Johnson had six carries for 9 yards and caught two passes for 24 yards in the Vikings’ win.


Johnson, Wire return to action Friday

Falcons LB Coy Wire (left) and Vikings RB Ian Johnson will return to preseason action this Friday. (Associated Press)

Falcons LB Coy Wire (left) and Vikings RB Ian Johnson will return to preseason action Friday. (Associated Press)

The 53-man roster quests of Ian Johnson and Coy Wire will continue when the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons, respectively, return to preseason action on Friday.

Johnson, fresh off a stellar 50-yard performance (Highlights) against the Indianapolis Colts in the Vikings’ preseason opener, will aim to contribute in what promises to be a big night at the H.H.H. Metrodome on Friday. The Vikings host the Kansas City Chiefs in what figures to be Brett Favre‘s debut with the local team.

Kickoff is at 8 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen in a re-air on NFL Network at 11 p.m. ET on Friday.

Wire returns to the field on Friday night as well, as the Falcons visit St. Louis to take on the Rams. Game time is 8 p.m. ET, and a replay of the game can be seen on NFL Network at 2 a.m. ET on Saturday.

Wire made his presence felt with three total tackles (Highlights) in the Falcons’ preseason-opening 27-26 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Here is a look at the other On The Fringe players in action during this weekend’s preseason games …

Still looking for his first reception since making arguably the greatest catch in Super Bowl history, David Tyree returns to action when the Giants visit Soldier Field to play the Bears on Saturday. Game time is 8 p.m. ET, but a replay of the game can be seen on NFL Network at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Attempting to separate himself in a crowded situation at receiver for the Cardinals, Lance Long returns to action against the Chargers at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday (NFL Network replay of the game will air at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday). Long’s quest to make the Cardinals’ final roster got off to a solid start last week against the Steelers, as the second-year receiver caught five passes for 48 yards (Highlights).


Johnson: ‘I just had a blast’

Ian Johnson checks in from Eden Prairie, Minn., and explains the excitement of his first NFL game, a 13-3 Vikings victory over the Colts.


Johnson describes his first NFL game

Our On The Fringe tailback, rookie Ian Johnson, got his career off to a strong start in Minnesota’s 13-3, preseason-opening victory Friday at Indianapolis. Johnson finished with 50 yards on nine carries and had a catch for nine yards. Johnson told us what the experience was like in an email Sunday:

“What can I say? My first NFL game was amazing. The feeling of walking into the locker room and seeing my jersey in my locker with a big JOHNSON on the back was better than I could have imagined. I normally try to leave emotions out of my game and just go do my job, but that day was different. After seeing my jersey, I knew I had to go out there and show my love for this game through my play. I didn’t and still don’t know how many games I will be blessed to play at this level, and I feel like I have to play every game with everything I have.

“From the moment I walked on that field in Indianapolis, I started playing how I thought my first NFL play would go in my head. I didn’t know when it would come or if it would even be a run play, but I was pumped. In the second quarter, when my number was called, everything slowed down. It just felt like all of the things that I had worked so hard on during camp were now second nature. Six yards or so later I felt like I belonged. That feeling is one of the reasons why I love this game so much.

“The fourth quarter ended up being my quarter. I didn’t do everything perfect, but I did everything with all my heart. I’ve always believed that if I do everything, with all I have, I’ll never have any regrets, and I have no regrets from that night. The only thing that could have made that night anymore perfect would have been having my wife there. Even though she wasn’t there, I knew she was watching, and I knew she would be proud — and that, her being proud of me, there’s no greater treasure to me.

“So to put it a little shorter, my first game was amazing.”

Ian Johnson rushed for 50 yards on nine carries, including a rush for 16 yards. (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

Ian Johnson rushed for 50 yards on nine carries, including a rush for 16 yards. (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)


Childress praises Johnson’s play

On Sunday, Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress met with the media, discussing Friday night’s game against the Colts, as well as the play of our man On The Fringe, Ian Johnson.

Childress examined Johnson’s effort, as well as fellow running back Albert Young.

“They did some good things. I thought both of them did. I thought both of them were locked into protections well,” Childress said. “I thought they took a good look at our run schemes. They got the ball up the field. So, yeah they did all you could ask.”

Childress talked more about Young’s working relationship with Johnson, saying, “He’s been great with Ian in that mentoring role, not that those other guys (Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor) haven’t, but he’s been there as a first-year guy and swimming and basically a free-agent guy. So he’s been a good mentor for him.”

Johnson rushed for 50 yards on nine carries against the Colts.


Johnson contributes to Vikings’ victory

Ian Johnson did all he could to distinguish himself in a crowded Vikings backfield Friday night, when he had nine carries during the second half of a 13-3 preseason-opening victory over the Colts.

On Johnson’s longest run — a 16-yard burst up the middle — the rookie displayed patience and toughness, taking on Indianapolis safety Matt Giordano for a few extra yards.

When it was all said and done, Johnson finished with 50 rushing yards and added a 9-yard reception from QB John David Booty.


Johnson: Adjusting on the fly

Ian Johnson takes you inside Vikings camp, where he’s trying to find a spot in a crowded backfield competition.


Where Johnson stands with Vikings

(David A. Benhaim /

Albert Young, Ian Johnson and Kahlil Bell during Minnesota Vikings training camp. All three players are fighting for a spot on the roster. (David A. Benhaim /

As the Vikings concluded their workouts in Mankato, Minn., with two practices Wednesday, the team issued its first depth chart of training camp.

Our man On The Fringe, Ian Johnson, was listed with three others at third-string halfback behind starter Adrian Peterson and backup Chester Taylor. Johnson is joined by Kahlil Bell, Antone Smith and Albert Young at No. 3.

The Vikings’ full depth chart can be found on the team’s official Web site, but it does include a disclaimer that it shouldn’t be considered official.