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Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals likely to part ways

The Cincinnati Enquirer gives impending free-agent defensive end Michael Johnson just a 20 percent chance of returning to the Cincinnati Bengals next season.

That might be a generous figure.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday, via a source with knowledge of Johnson's thinking as well as a Bengals source, that last season's franchise player will indeed hit the open market. The organization believes it's a long shot that Johnson will re-sign, per Rapoport.

Johnson's exit is such a foregone conclusion that his defensive line teammates no longer include him in offseason position group activities, realizing his days in the Queen City are over.

Unable to reach a long-term agreement with Johnson last offseason, the Bengals essentially handed his contract to Carlos Dunlap. They went on to draft Johnson's replacement in 2013 second-round pick Margus Hunt.

Although Johnson's sacks dipped from 11.5 in 2012 to 3.5 in 2013, he remained one of the finest all-around defensive ends in the league. In addition to stuffing the run, Johnson also generated plenty of quarterback hits and hurries.

Just 27 years old, Johnson will join Greg Hardy, Lamarr Houston and Michael Bennett as the preeminent defensive ends on the market.

Johnson's former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer just landed in Minnesota as the head coach. It's worth noting that the Vikings are in the top 10 in salary-cap space available, according to the NFL Players Association.

Might Johnson replace fellow free agent Jared Allen in the Twin Cities? If the Vikes are interested, they likely will have competition from the Bears and Falcons -- among others.

In the latest "Around The League Podcast," the guys ponder the future in both Seattle and Denver and break down the teams who intrigue them most this offseason.

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