Minnesota Vikings WR Charles Johnson: ‘It’s OK to be different’


When you see Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson, you know it.  He sticks out like a sore thumb in a group of NFL athletes, but that isn’t a bad thing.

Nov 23, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) celebrates a two-point conversion during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Packers defeated the Vikings 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Johnson has his own unique brand of style.  He wears a nose ring, dyes his hair, and even paints his toenails.  He rides a motorbike to work instead of the provided bicycles during training camp at Minnesota State University.  He’s just a unique guy who enjoys showing off his individuality any chance he gets.

In a recent article on the ESPN website, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson spoke about why marching to the beat of your own drum is a fun and fulfilling venture.  Here is what he had to say:

"“I like to tell people, ‘It’s OK to be different. You don’t have to be like everybody else,'” he said. “What they think is cool doesn’t make it cool. I pride myself on being different. Being like everybody else, you’re only going to get overshadowed.”"

While being different in appearance is something that Charles Johnson definitely has going for him, it’s more than just a look, it is an attitude.  And that attitude has translated into some success in the NFL following a very rocky road to a starting job.  Now, as a part of the Minnesota Vikings, his coaching staff is totally on board with him being a unique man as long as he is able to be a strong contributor for the team.

"“Charles Johnson — Mohawk, blond hair, nose ring. He’s his own guy,” wide receivers coach George Stewart said. “As long as he fits within the confines of our team structure, I dig that about him. He’s going to be a team guy, but at the same time, he’s his own guy. That’s confidence.”"

Confidence is one of the most important things that a wide receiver in the NFL can have.  Many of the best wide receivers in professional football history oozed confidence and charisma, but there are also those who have that “it factor” that end up sidelined due to other issues.

Because of the upbringing that Charles Johnson had, I’m thinking that won’t be a huge problem.

"“I know what it’s like to have nothing,” Johnson said. “I know what it’s like to not have friends, where you’re by yourself and you don’t know what your next step is going to be. Sometimes you might just need a little nudge. … It doesn’t take any money to go up and shake somebody’s hand, to say something nice, to hold a door or just say, ‘Thank you.’ It really doesn’t cost anything.”"

While some may be intimidated by Johnson’s unique hairstyle, piercing or general appearance, it’s great to know that he’s just a guy.  He’s the kind of guy that holds doors open, shakes hands, and says nice things as well as being the kind of guy that expresses himself and doesn’t worry about what others say.

It’s great to see that kind of attitude attached to the Minnesota Vikings.  And that is especially true when it is coming from an emerging player like Charles Johnson.

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