WR Charles Johnson: The ‘wrinkles’ are coming

Charles Johnson has reason to be excited about the Vikings’ outlook this season.

Throughout the preseason, the Minnesota Vikings had one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL, but they did not have many explosive plays. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater did connect with wide receiver Mike Wallace for a 39-yard pass down the sidelines in the team’s fourth preseason game, but apart from that there were not many big plays.

In five preseason games, there was Wallace’s 39-yard reception, a 39-yarder to Adam Thielen and a 34-yarder to rookie MyCole Pruitt.

In the first three games Wallace only had one catch for two yards and Bridgewater had only thrown one touchdown. Still, the team’s starting quarterback had only thrown six incompletions all preseason.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said that they were being conservative and did not want to show too much in the preseason. They want to be able to add some extra wrinkles once the regular season comes around.

Charles Johnson is one of the team’s starting receivers this year after working his way up the depth chart a year ago. When asked if the team is going to open up the playbook a little more now that the preseason is over, he said he thinks they will.

“We’re going to go out there and do the things we do best and what we do consistently, what we’re able to do the best out here at practice,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to stick with. Whatever we do well we’re going to carry into the game plan and go out there and be able to do against another team. I’m sure we’re going to have a few more plays we didn’t show in the preseason. I think it’ll be good.”

Along with adding in some new plays, the team is also going to be adding in some key pieces they didn’t have before. Running back Adrian Peterson will be back in the mix, Wallace’s role on the team should bring a downfield presence and there will likely be other wrinkles added as well.

It all excites Johnson because he knows it will make his job easier. He didn’t have the chance to play with all these weapons a year ago and is looking forward to the way the offense runs with all of them out there together.

“I think it’s going to be good,” he said. “We’re going to have Adrian Peterson back, so he’s a huge wrinkle. Then we’ve got Mike Wallace on the offensive side, he’s another wrinkle. We have a bunch of guys coming in that are going to be great assets for our team. I think our whole offensive and defensive sides, and you can include the special teams, there’s a wrinkle and we’re just going to go out there and show guys we can play this game at a high level.”

On paper, the Vikings appear to have enough weapons on the field to have a solid, balanced offense, but Johnson knows there is still a lot more they need to do. If they truly want to be successful, they need to prove it.

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“What is left for us to do in preparation, I mean we still have to go in there and study more for those guys and what they do defensively and what we’re going to do offensively to expose them,” he said about preparing for their Week 1 opponent, the San Francisco 49ers. “There’s still a lot we got to do. I know for me, I’ve still got to go in there and look at the corners. What techniques do they play, how deep do their safeties play, what coverages do they run the most and there’s just a lot you have to go into and little details. I mean we’ve got a great group of guys that’s willing to go out there and go find those things.”

The preseason is over and from here on out all of the games will have meaning and importance. The Vikings were able to find offensive success during the preseason, but it is now up to them to transfer that success into the regular season and continue to move forward.

 “It’s just repetition,” he said. “I just go out there and keep doing it everyday in practice. If you can do it in practice, you can do it in the game. And it’s just going out there and doing it day after day. Each play, each snap, just continue to do the things you do and continue to win at your job.”


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