In order to get to know more about Johnson, who was once thought to be a potential breakout player, I thought it’d benefit BGN readers to get a Vikings perspective on him. Minnesota is the only team Johnson has actually played regular season games for in the NFL, so I reached out to Christopher Gates (@Gates_DN) of Daily Norseman. Here’s what he had to say about Johnson.
1) Can you sum up Charles Johnson’s Vikings career? It seemed like there was excitement about him once upon a time.
There was a time when Charles Johnson appeared to have a really bright future in Minnesota. He showed some solid chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater at the end of the 2014 season, and wound up being the Vikings’ third-leading receiver despite only starting in six games. Then, thanks in large part to the emergence of Stefon Diggs (in 2015) and Adam Thielen (in 2016), he was largely forgotten, as he caught just 29 passes over the next two seasons combined after catching 31 in that 2014 season. He fell down the depth chart pretty quickly, and to be honest I’m not totally sure why. He still appears to have pretty good hands and decent speed, but it just wound up not working out in Minnesota.
2) What are his strengths?
His hands are probably his biggest strength. I don’t remember him having a lot of issues with drops during his time with the Vikings. He’s also a pretty solid route runner. I’m not sure if he’s an elite route runner, but I’d definitely say he’s above average.
3) What are his weaknesses?
For a guy his size, he has a surprising amount of difficulty with press coverage. I didn’t get to see enough of his AAF games to be able to tell you if he still has an issue with it, but it was something he had difficulty with when he was with the Vikings.
4) Johnson had success in the AAF. Based on what you know about him from his Vikings tenure, do you think there’s still hope for this 30-year-old’s NFL career?
I don’t think he’s going to be topping any team’s receiving depth chart or anything, but there’s really no reason that he couldn’t be a solid option for the Eagles as a #3 or #4 guy. He was also a pretty decent special teamer when he was with the Vikings, so that could potentially enhance his chances of winning a role with the Eagles.
5) Anything to know about him off the field?
He didn’t have anything off the field to worry about with the Vikings that I can recall. He’s a pretty decent guy from everything I remember about him.
BONUS: Check out this Johnson interview with Chris McPherson of PhiladelphiaEagles.com:
“I think I’m pretty much an all-around receiver. I can go deep on guys who like to sit on routes. I think I’m a pretty good route runner. I know how to run routes against guys who want to play tight and play bump and run. I’m a bigger guy with a quick first step. I’m a student of the game as well, so I’m good at identifying coverages, identifying plays. It makes it easier for me when I go out there that I’m not just running routes to create separation. I take a lot of pride in being the best that I can be. Each and every day, I try to focus on one or two points and try to master those.
DOUBLE BONUS: The Eagles gave Johnson a small (but noteworthy) signing bonus:
This is interesting: The Eagles gave former AAF WR Charles Johnson a $25,000 bonus. That's unusual for a street free agent. Not a ton of money but it shows they really wanted him.— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) April 13, 2019
He's 30 and hasn't played in the NFL since 2016 but I think he gets a good long look this summer.
SPIDER GRAPH AND HIGHLIGHTS: