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2014 Minnesota Vikings: Vikings Sign WR Charles Johnson

The Vikings have announced they have signed former Grand Valley State wide receiver Charles Johnson to the 53-man roster, taking Adrian Peterson’s former spot. This moves the Vikings to six receivers and keeps them at four running backs (including Felton). The announcement:

The Vikings have signed WR Charles Johnson to the 53-man roster off of the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad. Johnson joined the Browns from Green Bay’s practice squad on October 12, 2013. He went through training camp and the preseason with the Browns in 2014, appearing in all four preseason games, totaling six catches for 65 yards. Johnson, a 7th-round pick (#216 overall) by Green Bay out of Grand Valley State, played under Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner and Quarterbacks Coach Scott Turner in Cleveland last season.

Charles Johnson is seen by many as a height/weight/speed guy, and he is indeed quite the athlete. At his Pro Day (held at his school but organized by the Great Lakes conference, not his school) he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at 215 pounds (the expected time for an NFL player at 215 pounds is 4.62), standing at 6’2″. He also had a vertical leap of 39.5″. This piece at Rotoviz tries to put his measureables into context:

We’ll get to the production in a second. The real reason Johnson landed on anyone’s radar was his pro-day where he skyrocketed (literally) into elite company. If you combine his Vertical Jump and his Broad Jump numbers, you get 172.5”. Fewer than 8% of wide receivers eclipse the 170” figure and even fewer do it at 6’2’’ and in the 215-225lb range. Consider this rarified class of historical freaks:

HOLY COW! What an impressive workout! But what if I told you that his production was equally amazing? Consider how he stacks up to other wide receivers that came from similarly obscure college teams:

V-Jax, Miles Austin, and Marques Colston have all posted elite seasons in the NFL. As you can read here, I think Brian Quick will soon join that class of premium receivers. So the only riddle left to solve is Grand Valley State WR Charles Johnson.

Though he was productive at GVSU, Gil Brandt does bring up a good point:

Johnson does have a red flag, having bounced around between different schools. He initially went to Eastern Kentucky, where he was suspended. He then attended Antelope Valley Community College (Calif.) in 2008, took a season off in 2009, and was at Grand Valley State starting in 2010

His ProFootballFocus grades in the past two preseasons have been -3.9 (with Green Bay) and -2.2 (with Cleveland). He caught no passes in the 2013 preseason on four targets and had one drop. In 2014, he caught six passes on ten targets for 65 yards, with one drop. One pass targeted at him was intercepted. He has yet to appear in a regular season game. It should be noted that the Browns have a well-known lack of depth and he couldn’t make their 53-man roster.

There isn’t much in the way of a scouting report on him, so instead consume this highlight reel:

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    1. Rodney Smith has had one snap from scrimmage. He has not made any plays on special teams, and I do not believe he is on any of the units.

  1. I don’t understand this move,we have 2 WRs on our practice squad,why not give one of them a chance?
    Was expecting to wake up to news that we had signed a FA RB,not a receiver.I’m confused.

  2. Guys with his physical attributes don’t grow on trees. Norv more than likely beat the drum to get this guy under his wing again.

  3. Actually looks fast, just wonder if he can break tackles and block. But the main thing is CAN HE CATCH.
    Interesting to find out if his college problems was trouble related or grade related.

  4. The thing I find most interesting is how much power Norv seems to have in formulating our roster. We’ve brought in three guys from outside the organization since the final roster cutdowns and all three played for Norv. It’s almost crazy how much they trust his input being that he’s not the head coach. It’s a little odd they’ld bring in another WR but Smith was already ruled out for tomorrow and Patterson is dealing with a chest injury so they needed another body for practice. It’s just surprising they would guarantee a guy three weeks of active roster pay for that purpose, they must like him.

  5. According to Kevin Patra @NFL.Com,Johnson missed last season because of an ACL tear which wasn’t diagnosed until after Cleveland signed him from Green Bay.

    1. Or a safety to replace Harrison Smith and a wr to replace Cordarelle Patterson right? Since you hate our most talented players.

  6. Ug, he must be a bad route runner? He is fast and can at least catch in the highlight video.