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.”