LIONS INSIDER

Lions sign S Tyrell Johnson; activate WR Kris Durham

Posted Dec 4, 2012

The Lions made a move Tuesday to try and help bolster that area of their defense by signing veteran free agent safety Tyrell Johnson, who was a second-round pick of the Vikings in 2008.

The Lions had a number of breakdowns in their secondary Sunday that resulted in six passing plays of 20-plus yards and four plays of 40-plus yards in a 35-33 loss to the Colts.

The Lions made a move Tuesday to try and help bolster that area of their defense by signing veteran free agent safety Tyrell Johnson, who was a second-round pick of the Vikings in 2008.

Johnson played in 49 games in four seasons with the Vikings and made 27 starts over that span. He has 123 career tackles with 10 passes defended and two interceptions.

He signed with the Dolphins as a free agent this offseason but was cut before the season began. The Lions worked him out earlier this season but did not sign him at the time.

The team released veteran safety Erik Coleman to make room for Johnson on the 53-man roster. Coleman played the last two seasons with the Lions and started seven games this year with 45 tackles.

The team also filled the roster spot left vacant by rookie Ryan Broyles due to an ACL injury by signing second-year receiver Kris Durham off their practice squad.

Durham (6-6, 216) caught three passes in three games with the Seattle Seahawks last year. He played three seasons with Matthew Stafford at Georgia and was signed to the practice squad in September.

Veteran Mike Thomas will continue to get the bulk of the load opposite Calvin Johnson. He played in 70 snaps Sunday vs. the Colts and will continue to work out the wide part of the field opposite Johnson and in the slot.

The Lions traded for Thomas the week leading up to the Jacksonville game. It took him a few weeks to learn the system, and for coaches to learn what he does well, but he said last week he was starting to build a rapport with Stafford.

Thomas had at least 44 receptions and 415 yards in each of his first three NFL seasons.

Brian Robiskie is likely to be active moving forward and also part of the mix at receiver.

The Lions also added receiver Troy Burrell to the practice squad to fill Durham's spot.