Ian Johnson Is Someone To Be Excited About

fiesta_bowl_johnson_winner

It is not too often that you can get excited about a player that 32 teams passed up in the draft two days ago.  However, I think Boise State running back Ian Johnson is someone Vikings fans can be glad is on the roster.  After all, the Vikings had to invest no draft picks to snag him.

Johnson is best remembered as the player that won the New Year’s day Fiesta Bowl in 2007.  The scenario was Boise down by one point to Oklahoma after just scoring a touchdown.  With a helpless Adrian Peterson on the other sideline, Boise decided to go for two points and the win instead of tying up the game with an extra point.  The gamble paid off as Boise beat the Sooners when Johnson ran in the two pointer off the now famous “statue of liberty” play.

Immediately after the play, during a post-game interview, Johnson become one of the most popular players in America when he spontaneously proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend.  While the FOX sideline reporter and drunken fans did their best to make the moment as unromantic as possible, it was an instant crowd pleaser that resulted in Johnson getting much media attention during the following weeks.

At only six feet tall and 205 lbs., Johnson is thought to be too small to be an every down back in the NFL.  However, the Vikings are not looking for an every down back, but a guy that can be productive when called upon to spell Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor.  2006 was Johnson’s best year, which was capped by that famous win at the Fiesta Bowl as he gained over 1,700 yards and scored 25 touchdowns.  In 2008, his production dipped all the way to only 766 yards and 3 touchdowns.  However, over the course of his career, Johnson has improved significantly when it comes to catching passes out of the backfield.  He also has some, though pretty minimal, experience in being a return man on special teams.  Perhaps the most significant stat is that, according to ESPN, Johnson never fumbled a single time during his four years and 752 rushing attempts.

In that 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Johnson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown.  Adrian Peterson ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns.  I’m sure those two will have much to discuss when they suit up together this year.

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3 Responses to “Ian Johnson Is Someone To Be Excited About”

  1. JC says:

    Vikings get a steal out of Ian. He absolutely tore up teams in 2007. Most memorable are the Oregon State game and San Jose State. At Oregon he had over 200 yards in a huge win over the Pac-10 team. And at San Jose he actually finished out a win on a close game all while having a collapsed lung. His stats went down since that 07′ fiesta bowl due to ajustments made in the BSU offense that shared playing time with 2 other backs to put opponents on their toes unable to key in on plays. After that game, Ryan Clady, the BSU star linemen was drafted and the rushing game took a hit and had to be adjusted. As a fan living in Boise, i can say Ian is a class act. Given the right envirnment, im sure he will impress and go further than some might expect. If not used often for the running game, Ian steps in and excells out of the backfield in recieving scenarios. He is an excellent blocking back and also a gifted Special teams player. The Vikings will find many uses for him and i wish him well. Nice pick up Vikes!

  2. joshua campbell says:

    after the draft, seeing that ian johnson had gone undrafted, i was bummed and didn’t think he would make the nfl, but it sounds like he has a chance. he should complement adrian peterson(ian and boise state beat adrian and oklahoma 43-42(OT)), the 2nd string HB, and add depth to an already talented running team. thanks ian. GOD BLESS!(cool, boise state WR vinny perreta will be there too)

  3. kristin says:

    Ian’s production dipped down in 2008 because he is a selfless team player and let the other backs get the experience in they needed, and Ian played more special teams during the 2008 season. Ian is a great player: smart, selfless, a real team player. We die hard Bronco fans are sad to see him go, but rooting for him to succeed in the NFL.

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