EAGAN, Minn. -- Tom Johnson didn't foresee a return to the Minnesota Vikings; not after the team signed Sheldon Richardson in free agency and surely not after Johnson had agreed to join the Seattle Seahawks.
But Johnson never envisioned Seattle releasing him after he started the first week of the season. The Seahawks cut Johnson to sign a player from the practice squad and had plans to bring Johnson back.
"Yeah," Johnson said of a plan to sign back with Seattle. "It was discussed that once we got to the game, once the game came, I guess on Tuesday that we was going to discuss something, but I guess they didn’t think I was going to get as much interest as I got, so once other teams started coming in, I guess they decided they wanted to go another way.”
Minnesota went another way in free agency. Given a chance to bring Johnson back for depth, the Vikings didn't squander the opportunity.
The signing became official Wednesday and Minnesota released defensive tackle David Parry to make room on the roster.
"To be back, it says something about them also," Johnson said. "For me to come back, means something too. It’s a little deeper than just football. We got relationships outside of here from the coaching staffs, the players and stuff. So, this is more familiar. I know what’s going on. It feels good. That played more of a part of it than actually running away and trying to find another place.”
Johnson is expected to backup Richardson, who took Johnson's starting spot on the interior of the defensive line next to Linval Joseph. Coach Mike Zimmer said Jaleel Johnson would stick to nose tackle behind Joseph.
"We obviously didn't want to let him go," Zimmer said. "Tom's a good football player. He's been great for us in the time we've been here, so that's all been good."
Johnson, 34, spent four seasons with Minnesota from 2014-17 and had 16 sacks, while starting 25 of the 62 games he played.
“I’m just taking it in stride right now," Johnson said. "It’s something that I wasn’t expecting, as far the better situation that I’m in. I’m taking full advantage of it, if I was going to land somewhere. We had a couple more offers from other teams or whatever, and out of the other teams I felt like this was the best fit.
"You’ve got (defensive line coach Andre Patterson). You’ve got Zim. I know all the guys here. This is where pretty much my career started growing up. So I think it’s a good fit, and it’s only going to get better.”
Johnson was shown around the team's new facilities at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center on Tuesday, getting what he called an hour-and-a-half tour from general manager Rick Spielman.
Johnson has a new home, right back in Minnesota after his strange departure from Seattle.
"I think that was just a business decision," Johnson said. "Do I feel some type of way? A little bit, just because of what was said when we first got out there and what I did for the preseason and how things were going. So for them to want to go younger at this point in time, it’s only going to motivate me. I’m a blue-collar guy anyway, so it’s a business.”
Brian can be found on Twitter at @MNBrianHall. See all of the Vikings’ coverage at footballmaven.io/vikings