[Editor’s Note: As you all know, it’s important to us at Vikings Territory to provide a platform for voices other than ours to be heard through Guest Posts. This time around, we’re welcoming Adam Patrick, who currently writes about the Vikings at Pro Football Spot. You can follow Adam on Twitter at @Str8_Cash_Homey, and make sure to be on the lookout for more of his work!]
At 12:45 am on Monday July 7, 2014, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson was pulled over by police on Bush Lake Road in Bloomington, Minnesota. During the traffic stop, Simpson was given citations for possession of marijuana, violating the guidelines for driving on a limited license, and for driving while in possession of an open bottle of alcohol.
A few months later, on September 18, Simpson was informed that his services were no longer needed by the Vikings as the team had decided to release him. With Simpson’s release, Minnesota now had an open spot on its roster.
Before he landed with the Vikings in 2014, Minnesota’s offensive coordinator Norv Turner had spent the previous season running the offense for the Cleveland Browns. When Simpson’s release created an opening on the Vikings roster, Turner had a very good idea of who the team should consider bringing into Minnesota to fill that spot.
At the time of Simpson’s release, Charles Johnson was a young wide receiver awaiting his call up to the big leagues as a member of the Browns practice squad. Turner and his son, current Vikings quarterback coach Scott Turner, had developed an admiration for Johnson when they were all in Cleveland in 2013.
The Vikings and head coach Mike Zimmer had faith in the Turner’s recommendation of Johnson and decided to offer the young receiver a contract. Despite the Browns still wanting to keep Johnson in Cleveland, the opportunity to work with the Turners ultimately became the determining factor in Johnson’s decision to sign with Minnesota.
Signing with the Vikings was Johnson’s latest step in his long journey to the NFL. A journey that began almost 11 hours away from his current employer in Minnesota.