The weather has turned frigid in Minnesota, but the Vikings offense is trying to turn up the heat over the final two games of the season to build momentum for the offseason. Aiding in the cause is WR Charles Johnson, who's been the hottest of the Vikings receivers over the past couple games. Johnson heading to Miami to take on a stingy Dolphins pass defense is the subject of this week's Ticketmaster Hot Matchup.
No Vikings receiver has more targets (15), receptions (9), receiving yards (175) or receiving touchdowns (1) than Johnson over the team's last two games. Johnson had perhaps his best game as a member of the Vikings two weeks ago when he caught four receptions for 103 yards, including a 56-yard bomb from Teddy Bridgewater. Last week against Detroit, Johnson looked like the most explosive offensive weapon in the game at times, hauling in five receptions for 72 yards on seven targets. He will be a valuable weapon for Bridgewater this week as the Vikings take on a Dolphins pass defense that ranks No. 4 in the NFL.
Entering the 2014 season, Johnson was a no-namer to Vikings fans. He began the season on the Cleveland Browns practice squad but was signed to the Vikings active roster on September 20. His first game as a Viking came at Green Bay on October 2 (he caught one pass) and his first start as a Viking came on November 23, also against Green Bay. Coincidentally, Johnson entered the NFL as a draft pick of the Packers before he was signed to the Brown practice squad.
While Johnson didn't begin the season with the Vikings, he's quickly assimilated into Norv Turner's offense and he's flashed frequently while his playing time as increased. As illustrated in the chart below, Johnson has proven to be a quick study and a playmaker despite his late arrival and cram session to learn the Vikings offense.
Charles Johnson – 2014 Season Stats (Rank on Team)Yards per Catch: 16.0 (1st)
Receptions of 20 Yards: 8 (Tied-1st)
Receiving TDs: 2 (Tied-2nd)
Receiving Yards: 415 (3rd)
Receptions for 1st Down: 16 (4th)
Receptions: 26 (6th)
While he's played in four fewer games than most Vikings pass catchers and ranks just fifth in targets with 48, he still ranks among the team's top performers in most categories. Over the final two games, Johnson will continue to grow within the Vikings offense and looks poised to be one of the team's top weapons in 2015.
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