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Charles Johnson to Start Over Cordarrelle Patterson Against Jets

Wide receiver Charles Johnson is set to start for the Vikings against New York on Sunday.

According to the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson, offensive coordinator Norv Turner confirmed that Johnson will retain the starting split end position after getting the opportunity last week.

Cordarrelle Patterson generally holds the starting position, but his production has been much lower than anticipated this season. The sophomore WR seems to still struggle with route running, and Johnson has been given more reps recently. Last week, the official roster swap took place. After Patterson missed practices due to a personal matter, head coach Mike Zimmer reduced Patterson’s playing time.

Minnesota utilized Johnson on all 50 snaps in the win against Carolina, while Patterson played on just three overall—and not until the second half. Sunday was the first time in Patterson’s NFL career that he did not catch a single pass. While Vikings fans are surprised—and disappointed—with Patterson’s less-than-mediocre performance, Johnson is certainly earning his keep.

“C.J. is playing at a high level,” Turner said. “C.J. is the starter at X, that’s the position Cordarrelle plays. We’re going to do what we can to get him some opportunities to play there, but C.J. is playing at a real high level right now.”

Over the Vikings’ last three games, the 25-year-old has played 141 snaps and made 11 receptions for 180 yards.

Originally drafted by the Packers in 2013, Johnson suffered a knee injury early on and is just now getting his chance to prove himself in the NFL. He caught his first pass with the Vikings in Week 5, and Johnson is proving that he could play a significant role on this team.

And as for Patterson? No. 84 has been vocal about his disappointment with last week’s situation, and he told reporters that he will approach the coaching staff if he doesn’t play a larger role against the Jets. Patterson said the following:

“I’ll have to see how this week goes first and see how my reps and how my playing goes this week. Then next week if I my reps [aren’t] what I need them to be and I’m not feeling good about it, I have to sit down and talk with them.”

Regardless of what happens with Patterson, one thing is clear: Charles Johnson was handed a chance, and he isn’t looking back.

 

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Lindsey Young

Lindsey Young (Featured Columnist) is a graduate of University of Northwestern – St. Paul and is an avid Minnesota sports fan[atic]. It’s been argued females don’t know much about sports, but she begs to differ. Her work has been featured on Bleacher Report, KSTP.com, and Fox Sports North. In addition to her work with VT, Lindsey is a contributing writer for Canis Hoopus, runs a bi-monthly fan feature for Timberwolves.com and is a freelance writer for Vikings.com. You can read her blog at Making the Call and follow her on Twitter.

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10 Comments

  1. Needless to say, Johnson has been a wonderful surprise for the team. From an absolute nobody, to a strong contributor with solid skills.

    Perhaps Cordarrelle converts to more of a slot receiver where his quickness and size would be a great benefit. He has proven to be very dangerous when you can quickly get the ball in his hands and let his natural running instincts take over. X or Z just require too much refinement in route running…..which appears to still be a big gap of CP.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your thoughts! I agree with you on both accounts, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much of a role Johnson will continue to play w/the Vikings.

  2. Patterson needs to learn how to run routes in the off season. Maybe he should go work with Chris Carter.

  3. Sorry,I don’t see it.Johnson dropped a simple ,wide open reception in the end zone along with others where he was wide open.I think Patterson is a much more of a threat when on the field than Johnson is.Patterson will get better the more he plays,not by sitting on the bench imo.

    1. I read somewhere today Johnson only has one drop this year. The others were considered off target passes.

    2. If drops couldn’t be fixed, Cordarrelle Patterson wouldn’t have been a first-round pick. Lots of drops in college, all seen as coachable. Patterson’s drop rate was ten percent last year. This year it’s smaller.

      Even when you account for drops, Johnson has added more to the offense (at the moment). A sure-handed receiver isn’t much when he can’t get open.

      Besides, why can’t Johnson be a big-play threat? Both are 6’2″ (technically, Johnson is taller), both ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash, Johnson’s three-cone and short-shuttle are both faster, his vertical jump is two inches higher, with a broad jump five inches further, too. All this at an identical weight.

      They are not similar in terms of playing styles, but Patterson had never been a deep threat with the Vikings or in college. Johnson has proven to be a deep threat (for now) in both.

      I’m not saying Johnson is a better receiver long-term than Patterson, but you are dismissing him way too easily.

    3. I do think that Patterson needs to still be utilized and coached to become more effective, because overall I think CP is the more athletic WR. However, Johnson has really been proving himself in a short amount of time. Patterson has also shown a little bit of an attitude lately as well, and I don’t think Zimmer has a lot of patience with that type of thing …

  4. I like what this coaching staff is doing,it certainly is refreshing after what we experienced the past couple years when changes needed to be made but weren’t,and I agree with the change.Johnson deserves his opportunity.
    I worry about Cordarrelle when I read that statement about his playing reps “not being where he needs them”. My advice to him would be close your mouth,work your butt off to learn how to run proper routes,and prove to people that the belief they have in you is warranted.If he doesn’t do that he is going to go down in history as the highest drafted kick returner,because he won’t be on the field with the Offense!

  5. One thing to keep in mind is that Johnson is actually the most experienced receiver in Norv’s offense on our roster. He spent all of last season learning this system in Cleveland, so despite only being a Viking since September, he did have a leg up in some aspects. Getting on the same page with Teddy so quickly shows the guy is putting in the work and I like his potential, but it is far to early to write Patterson off. Hopefully both he and Johnson will end up having huge break throughs in year three next season.

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