Mike Wallace is the most recognizable Minnesota Vikings receiver, but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater believes a little-known target out of Grand Valley State is going to make a big impact.
Charles Johnson, who tallied four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ 20-12 win over the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, received a healthy bit of praise from Bridgewater. According to ESPN’s Ben Goessling, the second-year gunslinger said:
“You talk about that touchdown catch he had today with the defensive back all over his shoulders. Charles, he’s a big, physical guy. He helps out in the run game with his blocking for the running backs and it showed tonight in the passing game in just the first half — not even the entire first half, but the first quarter. He showed that he’s going to be big for us this year.”
Johnson bounced from the Green Bay Packers to the Cleveland Browns to the Vikings before emerging as a legitimate receiving threat in mid-November. The 6-foot-2, 217-pounder snagged 25 passes for 415 yards and two touchdowns over Minnesota’s final seven outings.
The Vikings acquired Wallace via trade during the offseason, but Johnson should be expected to make a larger impact than the former Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins wideout. Wallace isn’t a reliable option, though he’ll certainly provide more impact than Cordarrelle Patterson, who is trending downward—and quickly.
Bridgewater must compensate for the loss of right tackle Phil Loadholt, who recently sustained a season-ending Achilles injury. Johnson is a key part of helping Minnesota’s offense remain balanced and making sure the team doesn’t over-rely on running back Adrian Peterson.