Charles Johnson is off to a bad start for Vikings


Charles Johnson was a popular pick this offseason for “Break out player of 2015” but so far Johnson has not lived up to the label.

After doing almost nothing week 1 vs. San Francisco, Johnson came out in week 2 against Detroit and laid another big old egg.

Johnson’s struggles in week 1 could easily be explained away as a symptom of larger offensive dysfunction but his week 2 issues were largely on him and him alone.

Johnson had just 3 catches for 10 yards against Detroit but that dismal stat line doesn’t really tell the story.

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On at least two occasions, Johnson hurt the Vikings with flat-out bad plays that were caused by a total lack of focus in key situations.

Bad play #1: With 5:29 left in the third quarter the Vikings lined up for a 3rd-and-4 play on the 50-yard-line.

Johnson came on an underneath route and Teddy Bridgewater hit him for what would have been a first down except Johnson bobbled the ball.

Johnson loses his concentration for a split second and ends up catching the ball short of the first.

The Vikings ended up punting on fourth down as a result of Johnson’s bobble.

Bad play #2: With 14:25 left in the fourth quarter the Vikings lined up for a key 3rd-and-3 but Johnson was called for a false start that pushed it back to a 3rd-and-8.

Luckily the Vikings were able to come back the next play and get the first down when Teddy Bridgewater hit Kyle Rudolph for an 8-yard reception.

Two lapses in concentration for Johnson in the second half on important third down plays. Can’t blame that on anyone but Johnson.

So what exactly happened to Johnson in the second half? Why did he seem to lose his focus?

This is only speculation, but I wonder if Johnson doesn’t suffer from a little case of Randy Moss disease.

Moss in his years as a Viking was a player who, if you didn’t get him the ball early, would check out mentally and be pretty much worthless for the rest of the game.

Is it possible Johnson’s focus issues in the second half against Detroit were related to his not being targeted much early in the game? Does he have Moss-itis?

Maybe the Vikings need to come out against San Diego and make a concerted effort to get Johnson some targets in the first quarter. Perhaps they need to feed him the ball a little and get him going.

Teddy Bridgewater seemed to have good chemistry with Johnson last year and Johnson is a player who seems to know how to get open, so you have to believe they can get him the ball if they try.

Obviously when you’re a receiver, sometimes the game just flows away from you and you don’t get the ball. You can’t let that bother you or frustrate you.

We’ll see if the Vikings work to get Johnson more touches and if that gets him going on his way to breaking out.

Right now Johnson doesn’t look like a break out player of 2015, he looks like a very average and frankly unfocused receiver.

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