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Lions sign safety Tyrell Johnson, release Erik Coleman

The Detroit Lions cut ties with veteran safety Erik Coleman on Tuesday in order to sign former Vikings second-round pick Tyrell Johnson.

USA TODAY Sports

A seven-game starter for the Lions at strong safety this season, veteran Erik Coleman was released by the organization on Tuesday, according to a report by Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com.

The 30-year-old Coleman filled in admirably on a Detroit defense that has been decimated by injuries in the secondary, but was ultimately deemed expendable with just four regular season games remaining. Coleman tallied 30 total tackles, three pass deflections and one interception over 12 appearances this year with the Lions. To take Coleman's spot on the active roster, the Lions signed former Minnesota Vikings second-round draft pick Tyrell Johnson to an undisclosed deal.

Johnson was released by the Dolphins in the preseason after four years with the Vikings, but has struggled with injuries for much of his pro career. His above-average athleticism could potentially bring new life to a defense that has lacked playmakers in the secondary, however, and it's highly likely that he will be thrust into Detroit's safety rotation over the remainder of the season.