Johnson will be this year’s Mr. Mankato (or is it Eagan?)
The location may have changed in recent years, but the breakout player of camp has earned the title of Mr. Mankato, honoring the Vikings former training camp home.
While in years past, the fictitious award has been given to a non-descript player bursting onto the scene. This summer, it’s more likely to go to a veteran with limited time to prepare for the season.
That’s why the best bet to earn that honor this year will be Bisi Johnson. During his rookie season in 2019, Johnson made a decent impression, catching 31 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns. While there was room for more of an impact with the absence of Adam Thielen, there’s a chance we could see Johnson be on the field more this year.
According to Sharp Football Stats, the Vikings used three-receiver sets just 26 percent of the time last season, which was an NFL low.
But that might have been because Minnesota didn’t have a legitimate third receiver to use. With Justin Jefferson entering the mix and Johnson having another year of experience under his belt, that could change in 2020.
Jefferson’s best play came when he moved into the slot for LSU last season and although that’s where Thielen spent 31.9 percent of his snaps a year ago, the Vikings would be best served to move both of them around. To get that slot, they’ll need a second outside receiver to step up and that could be Johnson.
Odds are Johnson may never be a part of the second iteration of “Three Deep”, but he has enough talent to make plays if defenses are sleeping on him. If he can step up, there’s a chance Minnesota’s passing game could be more efficient in 2020.