WR Johnson accepts blame, deflects praise

Charles Johnson has turned into the Vikings’ leading receiver, but he is the anti-diva, downplaying his good plays and accepting full blame for bad plays that might not be all his fault.

In an era of football that is so pass-oriented, many of the wide receivers get tagged with the “diva” title. Charles Johnson is an emerging receiver with the Minnesota Vikings and he seems to be the opposite of what a diva receiver would be.

Of course, he always wants to be on the field, but you never hear him complaining about not getting enough touches. The only time he is happy is when the team wins, no matter how many times he touched the ball during the game.

“Stats don’t really matter too much to me, I just like to win,” Johnson said.

There was a key play in Vikings’ loss to the Detroit Lions that backs Johnson statement. It was the first interception thrown by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He was targeting Johnson, but Johnson got tangled up with the defender and the ball sailed high and was intercepted by Glover Quin.

When asked about that play, Johnson said the interception was on him and he should have made the play. He didn’t want to pass any blame on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who said the ball sailed on him. But Johnson wouldn’t even say that the ball was thrown high, just that he could have made the play.

“(Bridgewater) threw the ball to me, guy kind of made me trip a little bit – was on me,” Johnson said. “I didn’t make the play; they picked it off.

“Yeah, it was my fault. I put that on me. If I hadn’t lost my footing we wouldn’t have been in that situation.”

Johnson hinted at the fact the defender kind of tripped him up, but seemed to rephrase his answers afterwards because he didn’t want to make any excuses for why he did not make the play. And when asked if he thought there should have been the flag he just said he doesn’t want to depend on referees to make a play for him.

“I’m not there to look for flags,” Johnson said. “I’m there to make plays. I can’t depend on somebody else to make a play for me, or give me a free play. I stumbled and didn’t make the play.”

Throughout the year Johnson has continued to see his role on the Vikings increase, and has turned into the team’s No. 1 receiving option in the last month. In the last five games, Greg Jennings has been targeted 26 times, making 18 catches for 182 yards. Cordarrelle Patterson has been targeted nine times for six catches and 58 yards. Jarius Wright has been targeted 15 times, making 10 catches for 167 yards.

Meanwhile, in the last five games, Johnson has been targeted 37 times, pulling in 20 catches for 355 yards.

But no matter how many plays he makes, or how good his performances are in games, his primary focus has always been whether the team wins or loses.

In the game against Detroit, Johnson out-performed another receiver named Johnson. The Lions’ Calvin Johnson, who is arguably the best wide receivers in the NFL, who had four catches for 53 yards, compared to Charles’ five catches for 72 yards. But when asked to grade his performance, he was not happy with it because the Vikings lost.

“Average, we lost the game,” Charles said.

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