The 6-0, 207-pound Johnson joins Miami after spending the last four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings where he appeared in 49 games, 27 of which were in a starting role. He originally entered the NFL as a second round selection (43rd overall) of the Vikings in 2008 NFL Draft. Over the course of his four year career he has amassed 123 tackles, and two interceptions.
“The visit went well," Johnson said. "They have a great coaching staff. I felt real comfortable and at home when I got there and the deciding factor was really the type of defense they are going to play this year and the opportunity there is to come in and contribute right away. So that was more of the deciding factor, the defense they are going to play is more ‘quarters’ and mix it up a lot. And also the opportunity to come in and cover the elite tight ends and work to shut them down.”
Johnson played collegiately at Arkansas State, following a redshirt freshman season in 2003 he entered the starting lineup and never relinquished his role and went on to start 46 games. In 2007 he earned third-team All-American, first-team All-Sun Belt Conference and was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year after recording 94 tackles and six interceptions. Born May 19, 1985 in Rison, Arkansas, Johnson attended Rison High School. A prep running back and defensive back he was named All-State and All-Conference as a senior in 2002, he finished his high school career with 2,725 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns while also contributing on defense with three interceptions.
The 6-2, 243 pound Spitler is entering his third season in the NFL. He has played in 28 career games, and has registered 14 career special teams tackles and one fumble recovery.