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Vikings 'very excited' about Charles Johnson

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Whether or not Adrian Peterson wears purple and gold come September, the Minnesota Vikings are making moves to rework their longstanding run-first offense into an attack that scatter teams through the air.

Last week's trade with Miami for Mike Wallace added a bona fide downfield threat to a Teddy Bridgewater-led air attack that also boasts pass-catching tight end Kyle Rudolph, wideout Cordarrelle Patterson and the athletically freaky Charles Johnson.

While Patterson remains an enigma, Vikings play-caller Norv Turner, prior to the Wallace swap, called Johnson "far and away our best receiver" after the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder averaged 6.7 targets and 3.5 catches per game over his final seven appearances of 2014. Minnesota upped its output to 24 points per game in Johnson's six starts, with the 26-year-old displaying tangible chemistry with Bridgewater.

"I remember when he came in and worked out before the (Week 3) Saints game, you could tell he was a really talented kid and had raw ability," Rudolph told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "He continued to work, and when he got an opportunity he took full advantage of it."

The Vikings have Turner to thank for unearthing Johnson, who general manager Rick Spielman called a "pleasant surprise," saying at the NFL Scouting Combine: "We're very excited about his potential, his ability."

It was Turner who watched Johnson rehab from an ACL tear during their one season together with the Browns in 2013. Johnson showed flashes of raw ability last preseason, but Browns general manager Ray Farmer lost the playmaker in September when Turner and the Vikings signed him off Cleveland's practice squad.

Browns fans can lay awake at night pondering the fact that wideout-challenged Cleveland allowed both Johnson and Seahawks receiver Chris Matthews -- who hauled in four balls for 109 yards in the Super Bowl -- escape the building for greener pastures.

The Vikings, meanwhile, hit on a quarterback in last year's draft before using the following 10 months to surround Bridgewater with two new weapons in Johnson and Wallace. If Patterson can iron out his issues and Rudolph can stay on the field, we like Norv Turner's chances to turn this into one of the conference's more electric passing schemes.

If they manage to unleash an agitated Adrian Peterson into the mix, Minnesota looms as a potential headache for defenses in the NFC.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast makes some bold free agency predictions and discusses Adrian Peterson's future. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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