Johnson, who started all 10 games for the Monarchs during the 1995 World League season, will start for the first time in a five-year NFL career if Warren Moon fails to recover from the ankle and toe injuries that forced him out of the Vikings' Week 1 game against the Detroit Lions.
Johnson made the most of his opportunity against Detroit, completing 16 of 23 passes for 157 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Cris Carter with 66 seconds remaining for a 17-13 Vikings victory. The former ninth round draft choice out of Florida State goes into Week 2 of the season as the NFL's second-rated passer with a rating of 103.0.
The heroics of Johnson on the NFL's opening weekend highlighted the achievement of 93 players who developed their skills in the World League and made their clubs' opening-day rosters -- a significant increase on 72 World Leaguers involved in the 1995 NFL season.
Of the 93 players, 70 were on the active roster for the Week 1 matchups, while 13 were on the practice squad and a further 10 were on reserve.
"The high number of World League players involved in the NFL season is another indication of the high standard of player we have in the league," said World League president Oliver Luck. "As a former quarterback, I am delighted to see 13 quarterbacks who have graduated from the World League school making their mark in the NFL."
If Johnson starts against the Falcons, he will be backed up by his old foe at the Barcelona Dragons, Jay Walker.
The Vikings are due to make a decision on Moon's fitness closer to gametime.
"If it's my time to play, then I will," Johnson said. "But if Warren's ready to play, I'll go back to being the No. 2 guy."
Moon has no worries about the prospect of Johnson having to step into the spotlight.
"When I first got here I didn't feel very confident that, if something happened to me, I could come out and we could put him in those situations," said Moon. "But now he's a guy that you're not going to worry about so much if I'm feeling bad."
Here is a rundown of World League players on 1996 NFL opening-day rosters:
ARIZONA CARDINALS Active: Jerry Drake, DE, London 1996 Injured Reserve: Blaine Berger, DT, Amsterdam 1995, London 1996 ATLANTA FALCONS Active: Louis Riddick, S, Sacramento 1992 BUFFALO BILLS Active: Chris Mohr, P, Montreal 1991 CHICAGO BEARS Active: Greg Briggs, LB, Frankfurt 1995 Keith Jennings, TE, Montreal 1991 Marcus Spears, OL, Amsterdam 1996 Injured Reserve: David Webb, LB, Scotland 1996 Zev Lumelski, T, Amsterdam 1996 DALLAS COWBOYS Active: Jason Garrett, QB, San Antonio 1991 George Hegamin, T, Frankfurt 1996 DENVER BRONCOS Active: Byron Chamberlain, WR, Rhein 1996 Tom Rouen, P, Ohio 1992 Practice Squad: Michael Titley, TE, Orlando 1992, London 1995-96 DETROIT LIONS Active: Jocelyn Borgella, CB, Scotland 1995 Scott Mitchell, QB, Orlando 1992 Practice Squad: Tommie Boyd, WR, Rhein 1996 GREEN BAY PACKERS Active: George Koonce, LB, Ohio 1992 Doug Pederson, QB, NY/NJ 1992, Rhein 1995 HOUSTON OILERS Active: Willie Davis, WR, Orlando 1992 Purvis Hunt, G, Scotland 1996 Erik Norgard, C/G, San Antonio 1992 Practice Squad: James Roberson, DE, Rhein 1996 Reserve/Suspend: Torey Hunter, CB, Amsterdam 1996 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS Active: Kerwin Bell, QB, Orlando 1991-92 Cary Blanchard, K, Sacramento 1992 Steve Hardin, G, Rhein 1996 Paul Justin, QB, Frankfurt 1995 Bobby Olive, WR, Frankfurt 1995 Kipp Vickers, OL, Frankfurt 1995 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS Active: Jeff Novak, OL, Montreal 1991-92 Darren Studstill, S, London 1996 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS Active: Louis Aguiar, P, Barcelona 1991 Tom Barndt, G, Scotland 1996 Steve Matthews, QB, Scotland 1996 Pellom McDaniels, DE, Barcelona 1991-92 Tracy Simien, LB, Montreal 1991 Keith Traylor, DT, Barcelona 1995 Injured Reserve: Kenny McEntyre, CB, London 1995-96 MIAMI DOLPHINS Active: Everett McIver, G, London 1996 MINNESOTA VIKINGS Active: Brad Johnson, QB, London 1995 Jay Walker, QB, Barcelona 1995 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS Active: Adam Vinatieri, K, Amsterdam 1996 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS Active: Paul Green, TE, Sacramento 1992 Brian Jones, LB, Scotland 1995 Ed King, G, Barcelona 1995 Andy McCollum, G, Barcelona 1995 Doug Nussmeier, QB, Rhein 1995 Donald Willis, G, Amsterdam 1996 Practice Squad: Kevin Farkas, T, Amsterdam 1996 Injured Reserve: Israel Byrd, CB, Scotland 1996 NEW YORK JETS Active: Ron Carpenter, S, Amsterdam 1995 Rick Hamilton, LB, Barcelona 1996 Don Silvestri, K, London 1995 James Parrish, T, London-Barcelona 1992 Practice Squad: Bobby Hamilton, DE, Amsterdam 1996 NEW YORK GIANTS Practice Squad: Jeremy Burkett, RB, Barcelona 1996 OAKLAND RAIDERS Active: Rick Cunningham, T, Orlando 1992 Mike Jones, LB, Sacramento 1992 Dan Land, S, New York/New Jersey 1992 Kenny Shedd, WR, Barcelona 1996 Practice Squad: Jerone Davison, RB, Rhein 1996 Injured Reserve: Keith Franklin, LB, Amsterdam 1996 PITTSBURGH STEELERS Active: Jim Miller, QB, Frankfurt 1995 Chris Oldham, CB, San Antonio 1992 Practice Squad: Jay Kearney, WR, Frankfurt 1996 Terry Richardson, RB, Rhein 1996 Matt Storm, G, Scotland 1996 Injured Reserve: Patrick Scott, LB, Frankfurt 1995 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES Active: Adam Walker, RB, Ohio 1992 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS Active: Darren Bennett, P, Amsterdam 1995 Mark Montreuil, CB, London 1996 SAN FRANCISCO 49ers Active: Michael Brandon, DE, Scotland 1995 Dedrick Dodge, S, London 1991-92 Ted Popson, TE, London 1992 Practice Squad: Mike Salmon, S, Rhein 1996 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS Active: Stan Gelbaugh, QB, London 1991-92 Michael Sinclair, DE, Sacramento 1992 Ronnie Williams, TE, San Antonio 1991-92 Practice Squad: Riddick Parker, DT, Rhein 1996 ST LOUIS RAMS Active: Paschall Davis, LB, Amsterdam 1996 Cedric Figaro, LB, Amsterdam 1995 Jon Kirksey, DT, Amsterdam 1995 Jamie Martin, QB, Amsterdam 1995 Anthony Parker, CB, New York/New Jersey 1991 Injured Reserve: Troy Ridgley, DT, Scotland 1995-96, Amsterdam 1996 Jay Williams, DE, Amsterdam 1996 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS Active: Scott Adams, OL, Barcelona 1991 Herman Smith, DE, London 1995 Willy Tate, TE, Scotland 1996 Casey Weldon, QB, Barcelona 1995 Practice Squad: Marvin Marshall, WR, Barcelona 1996 WASHINGTON REDSKINS Practice Squad: Ed Smith, TE, Frankfurt 1996World League players in the NFL, by the numbers:
By roster category Active Roster 70 Practice Squad 13 Reserve 10 By position Offensive lineman 18 Quarterbacks 13 Linebackers 11 Defensive ends 8 Tight ends 8 Cornerbacks 7 Safeties 6 Wide receivers 6 Defensive tackles 5 Punters 4 Running backs 4 Kickers 3 By World League team Amsterdam Admirals 17 London Monarchs 14 Barcelona Dragons 13 Scottish Claymores 11 Rhein Fire 10 Frankfurt Galaxy 9 Orlando Thunder 5 Sacramento Surge 5 Montreal Machine 4 San Antonio Riders 4 NY/NJ Knights 3 Ohio Glory 3 Note: Some players are listed under more than one team.
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