Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson joined the team on September 20th after being signed to Minnesota's active roster from Cleveland's practice squad and didn't waste time catching up in the offense he spent the 2013 season learning.
Viking Update's Eric Oslund spoke with Johnson yesterday about his ascension:
Minnesota Vikings* wide receiver Charles Johnson was on the field for 66 plays against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, which accounted for 97 percent of the offensive plays the Vikings ran. It was the first start of his career and the most playing time he has received, and more playing time than any other Vikings receiver had during the game.
The amount of reps that Johnson received was partially due to injuries suffered in the Vikings receiving corps – Greg Jennings (ribs) and Jarius Wright (hamstring) – but Johnson has also been having success when he has gotten playing time.
In Minnesota's game against Chicago on Nov. 16, Johnson got to see the field a lot in the end of the game because of the injuries, and he seemed to have a good connection with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater – seven targets and six receptions for 87 yards.
That continuity and success did not seem to be present against the Packers, however, as Johnson was targeted a team-high 11 times but was only able to bring in three of them for 52 yards.
"We didn't make the plays this week," said Johnson. "We missed some plays. It's the NFL, you ain't going to make every play.
"There were three, four, five plays I could have made. Even the hardest catches, I want to make those plays. If I can make those plays for our quarterback and for our team, we are going to be successful."
Even though Johnson feels as though he missed out on a lot of opportunities, there was one that he was able to capitalize on. He was able to come down with a 22-yard touchdown pass, his first touchdown, and the fact that it was against the team that drafted him just made the moment a little sweeter.
"It was pretty exciting for me, I'm not going to lie," Johnson said. "I got to give thanks to the offensive line and Teddy (Bridgewater) for getting the ball to me. I wish we would have won; I would have rather had that."
With Johnson making the most of the opportunities he is given, he is likely to continue with a significant role, even once players start getting healthy again. The veteran receivers have helped Johnson out a lot and taught him little tricks of the trade that he can use to help improve his game.*
Johnson will receive plenty more opportunities in the final five games of 2014 and can hopefully give some big play hope going forward.
- Via Craig Peters of Vikings.com – After Further Review: Secondary Stronger in Second Meeting.
- 1500 ESPN's Derek Wetmore: Vikings Xavier Rhodes learning to toe line between physicality and penalty.
- Vikings adopting Zimmer's mentality from ESPN's Ben Goessling.