News | Minnesota Vikings – vikings.com

Johnson Deemed as Potential Breakout Star

Charles Johnson has the speed to run fast, quickness to cut quickly and confidence to go up for the ball.

Those factors, combined with the Vikings receiver's size and strength and a second year with Teddy Bridgewater, have NFL.com's *Around The NFL *writers thinking that Johnson is capable of "Making the Leap" in 2015.

Johnson was ranked No. 20 in a post by Marc Sessler that was published Monday to highlight players that might gain increased notoriety in 2015.

The 6-foot-2, 218-pounder worked with the first team during the Vikings offseason workout program that culminated with last week's mandatory minicamp and said the Vikings receivers corps has "some real good speed."

Johnson appeared poised to build off the 2014 campaign he launched with the Vikings after Minnesota signed him from Cleveland's practice squad last September. He started six of the 11 games he played in 2014, recording 31 receptions for 475 yards and two touchdowns.

The Vikings acquired Mike Wallace via a trade with the Dolphins, and the seven-year pro was also sharp during the offseason program, quickly building a connection with Bridgewater, practicing hard and putting in extra work.

Could Johnson and Wallace become the next tandem of receiving threats in an NFC North division that is returning five of the conference's top 10 leaders in yardage last season?

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner was asked last week about Johnson's development in the system, and said he likes what he's seeing from the player he watched battle injury* *in 2013 when they were both with the Browns.

"He's stronger. He was recovering from that knee surgery a year ago, and I don't know that he was ever 100 percent, I think he's 100 percent," Turner said. "He's got great work ethic, he's out there right now, those guys are out there still catching balls and working on the things they can get better at, and he's a big, strong guy. He's a 218-pound receiver that can run. He's got everything you need to be a productive player in this league."

Sessler and Around The NFL took a look at the second-most productive wide receivers to play for Turner since 2002 and found "No. 2" receivers "averaged 40.5 grabs for 633 yards, compared with 60.2 catches for 941.2 yards by the No. 1. Second wideouts under Turner have caught 50-plus passes only twice over the past 14 seasons."

Sessler added: "Johnson has a higher ceiling than many of Norv's second fiddles over the years — names like Davone Bess, Patrick Crayton, James McKnight and Antonio Bryant — but he needs to play consistently to remain entrenched in the game plan."

The ranking noted that Johnson played in 94.9 percent of the team's snaps over the final six games of the year. Sessler factored in the addition of Wallace as well as what tight end Kyle Rudolph being healthier in 2015 could mean for this season and concluded, "I don't have a problem pegging Johnson with 60 catches for 900 yards and six touchdowns, which would make him one of the most productive No. 2 targets in Turner's history as a coach."

Turner, however, said he is focused on the collective offense.

"I think he's growing as a player and everything about production, obviously, has to do with who you're playing and how they're defending you," Turner said. "Our goal here, as I've always said, is to make sure all five of your guys that can touch the ball are able to contribute, whether they are running or they're receiving it or whatever they're doing. That's our goal. In terms of production, I just want to get all of these guys to where they're playing at a high level and then to me, the production will take care of itself."

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