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Vikings WR Johnson talks about Teddy Bridgewater’s rehab at Winterfest

Nov 24, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata (44) celebrates with wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) after a touchdown run during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Johnson and Teddy Bridgewater were gaining chemistry in the months before the 2016 season, but Bridgewater’s devastating knee injury forced Johnson and the rest of the Minnesota Vikings’ receiving corps to adapt to a new quarterback.

Now the team and receivers live in a state of limbo over whether Bridgewater will return next season or if Sam Bradford will be the long-term answer at quarterback. Speaking at a the team’s annual fan event Winterfest, Johnson said he has not heard a timeline for Bridgewater’s return but

“I’ve talked to Teddy a couple times, you never know, he says he’s coming along well,” Johnson said. “From what I hear, he’s just grinding, taking it one day at a time and get where he wants to be. I think he’ll be alright. He’s a very strong person, he’s very faith related and he understands the grind and where he wants to be in life.”

In 2013, Johnson suffered an ACL tear while playing for the Cleveland Browns, so he has some understanding of what Bridgewater is going through.

“It’s probably the worst thing I’ve went through,” Johnson said. “The rehab is crazy, it hurts, it’s terrible, but the one thing I really did appreciate about it was that each day you could see yourself growing and getting a little bit better, getting a little bit more strength, having a little bit more range of flexibility. It kind of gives you that confidence like, ‘I’m going to be alright.’

“[Bridgewater] is doing that. I’ve seen him running and doing all types of drills and stuff like that, so he’ll be straight.”

Johnson, who is a Restricted Free Agent, also said he believes a bigger role in the Vikings’ offense next season could be possible. Last year, the 27 year old caught 20 passes for 232 yards.

“I feel like there’s so much more I still have to touch that I haven’t touched in my own game and I feel like there’s so much I can do that other people can’t do,” he said. “I just have to reach that maximum ability and find that in myself. If I’m able to do that, the sky’s the limit for me.”

Minnesota’s receiving group has some question marks going into the offseason. Cordarrelle Patterson is an Unrestricted Free Agent and Adam Thielen is an RFA. Johnson said the receivers appreciated new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur for his flexibility with the offense.

“I really like the guy because he doesn’t care who gets the ball, he’s not a sticker on certain situations where some coaches can be,” Johnson said. “With Shurmur, the first thing he said was, ‘Don’t trick the quarterback and just get open.”

  • GordonGekko

    In other words, Teddy is done. He didn’t play at all in 2016 and won’t play in 2017, that means draft a QB to develop behind that stiff Bradford.

    • HeWhoKnowsAll

      How did you extrapolate that?

      • GordonGekko

        I’ve talked to Teddy a couple times, you never know, he says he’s coming along well,” Johnson said. “From what I hear, he’s just grinding, taking it one day at a time and get where he wants to be. That means what we all know, it’s not good after 5 months, and that he’s not playing in 2017, therefore, they need to draft a QB high if they think he’s worth it, sign another backup because Bradford is an injury machine. I like Teddy, but being out 2 full seasons isn’t good because of his health and development. Management probably thinks he’s done. I’m sure they will extend Bradford before this season starts.

        • HeWhoKnowsAll

          If management thought he was done, he would be cut. This is the NFL. Charles also says that he sees him running and performing drills. So, whatever. I’ll take “injury machine” Bradford behind an improved line. Taking a QB is fine though… in the 6th round.

          • GordonGekko

            You can’t just cut an injured player, there are NFLPA rules governing that and salary cap/bonus that’s involved too. They won’t cut bait on a former 1 st rd QB so fast because there is still time and it would affect their extension with Bradford too. I hope he can come back, but it’s not like he was a top flight, Pro Bowl QB when he went down, it will take time after 2 + years.

          • tk6

            Well put Gordy!!

          • SurfinUSA

            The Vikings aren’t paying Bridgewater big numbers. He’s respected by management and the team. Spielman isn’t going to cut him based on early progress reports. Injury, especially knee injury, is really the stock and trade of the NFL. There are qualified medical personnel and specialists that know their business and how to get a player on his feet. If they think Bridgewater has a chance, then Teddy should get a fair shot. No outcomes are guaranteed, but Bridgewater needs the carrot of returning to the league just in terms of how he will function long after he leaves football.

        • Tom Gerber

          “[Bridgewater] is doing that. I’ve seen him running and doing all types of drills and stuff like that, so he’ll be straight.”

          I think you are over reading it.

        • linus

          “injury machine” Bradford started 15 of 15 last year.

          • GordonGekko

            True. He did start 15 games and I give him lots of credit for taking a beating last season, but his injury history isn’t good and he’s missed lots of games including the entire 2014 season.

          • SurfinUSA

            So, would you rather have Carson Palmer< Tony Romo? Bradford's knee was injured when a defensive guy hit him when Bradford was already out of bounds on a scramble run. Then Rams Management (term used loosely) rushed him back on the field without adequate testing. The same knee snapped on a harmless play. I get it that he had shoulder rotor cuff injury in college, but that was nearly 8 years ago. He hasn't had a serious recurrence.

            Bradford can scramble if he can get some blocking. Plays don't develop downfield because the lack of blocking forces the quickest release in the game. It's hard to run when there is no open space. Bradford's not AP who knocks the snot out of anyone that crosses his path. Few runners do that, and no quarterbacks to my knowledge.

    • SurfinUSA

      Hey Gordo, why don’t you lace ’em up and go outperform Bradford?

  • brian199511

    Bradford is an excellent quarterback saddled with terrible teams as most number one picks are for years. Fix the OL, draft a RB, cut Peterson and win Super Bowl at home.

    • SurfinUSA

      Exactly. Coller is simply a nebbish trying to meet deadline with his pitiful writing. He is wishing, straining and hoping that his weak-minded point of view is seen as the future, instead of dealing with reality.

      Bridgewater’s knee injury is the worst kind. I should know, I tore up my left knee and had 4 surgeries on it, including a total knee replacement. Reconstructing moving parts is very difficult thing to do and there isn’t a high probability that he could take NFL punishment for any estimated time frame.

      One thing is for sure, if you think Bradford is a scarecrow in the pocket, you’ll be disillusioned with Teddy’s return. He won’t have the mobility and the run option like he’s had in the past. That is what made him effective but a big part of his game was lost on the operating table.

      • brian199511

        Sorry about your knee, my brother blew his playing soccer and it really changed his life, not for the better. I do think Bradford is tough enough to stand tall in the pocket if he has time to make reads. We lucked out getting Sam and all feel bad about Teddy.

        • SurfinUSA

          my heart goes out to Teddy, he’s had major ligament, tendon and nerve damage. He’s been a real trooper and been stoic about the pain. Essentially he’s had to learn to walk again. The fact that he is running at all is a testament to his will and endurance. I wish him well. The initial problems are Mt. Everest to overcome, but there is residual effects as he ages. I first tore mine in 1970 and made it to 2002 before the replacement. It works “okay” now and keeps me on my feet doing the elliptical a few times a week. I have serious doubts if Teddy will ever play for a long period if he makes it back. His elusiveness on his feet added to his game and overcame some weaknesses. Without that, I can’t see where he goes from here. Thanks for the kind words Brian. I hope your brother “keeps the faith.”

  • Lester Stkl

    Darn, maybe the Vikes will bring in March Sanchez to lead the team. WTF! Are you all kidding? With Spielman at the helm the Vikes are doomed. Just doomed and cursed.

  • MarkWatts

    If he comes back, I’m still more worried about his arm than his knee anyways.

  • linus

    Great to see Johnson say that Bridgewater is running…

  • Andre Esters

    Not expecting CJ back on the roster, but it would be absolutely amazing if Bridgewater can pull off a 2012 AP recovery… no need to start, but talk about major inspiration for his teammates.

  • Eric Williams

    STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR BRADFORD HE HAD A BETTER DEFNSE RANKED TOP 5 IN TOTAL DEFENSE. THREW PICK IN CLOSE GAMES WERE WE LOSE AND THOSE WERE ON PLAYS WERE HE WASNT GETTING PRESSURED. HES AVERAGE THE LINE WHETHER IF IT WAS BAD HE SHOULD OF CHANGE THE PLAY GOT PROTECTIONS THOSE ARE GREAT QBS AND THEY DIDNT ASK HIM TO DDO MUCH SO HE HAD PRETTY EASY

  • Eric Williams

    EVERYBODY WITH THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT TEDDY NEEDS TO STOP THE ONLY PERSON WHO KNOW HE WILL BE BACK I THE NFL AND PLAYING AT A HIGH LEVEL WILL BE HIM AND GOD AND THATS IT. DOCTORS SAID HE MIGHT NOT COME BACK BUT THE DECISON IS BASED ON THE WORK TEDDY PUTS IN AND THE PATH GOD HAS LAID OUT FOR HIM





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