One of the great mysteries of the Minnesota Vikings 2015 season was how wide receiver Charles Johnson so suddenly faded out of relevancy and why. Almost too predictably, a Charles Johnson injury is now the given reason for the lack of playing time and production.

According to ESPN‘s Ben Goessling, Johnson suffered a broken rib in Septembers game against San Diego while trying to come back for a ball that was ultimately picked off.  Johnson told Goessling that it wasn’t until the November 1st game against Chicago that he felt like he could manage the pain well enough to play effectively.

“You can’t sneeze, you can’t move, laughing hurts,” Johnson said. “But it’s all good now.”

Assuming this revelation is the true reason behind Johnson’s disappointing 2015 campaign, it is reasonable to wonder if his 2016 production could be closer to (or significantly exceed) his 2014 numbers where he caught 31 passes for 475 yards and two touchdowns.

The wide receiver has been, and almost certainly will continue to be, the most talked about position on the Vikings roster as the 2016 NFL Draft approaches. There are many opinions and evaluations flying around about a great many wide out prospects, but if the Vikings front office expects Johnson to rebound in 2016 then Rick Spielman perhaps has even more flexibility at the top of the Draft than any of us realize.

Johnson will almost certainly join Stefon Diggs and Jarius Wright as key components of the Vikings passing attack to return in 2016. If he is fully healthy and able to contribute at a dependable level, then that is just one more reason to have optimism about the upcoming season.