With Cordarrelle Patterson still struggling with his route-running and tumbling down the depth chart, it's Johnson who has earned the trust of Teddy Bridgewater. The quarterback pointed specifically to Johnson's 10-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter of Saturday's 20-12 preseason win over the Oakland Raiders.
"You talk about that touchdown he had ... with the defensive back all over his shoulders," Bridgewater said, per ESPN.com. "Charles, he's a big, physical guy. He helps out in the run game with his blocking for the running backs and it showed tonight in the passing game in just the first half. ... He showed that he's going to be big for us this year."
Score the victory for Vikings play-caller Norv Turner, who watched the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Johnson rehab from an ACL tear during their one season together with the Browns in 2013. When wideout-needy Cleveland surprisingly attempted to stash the receiver away on their practice squad last summer, Turner and the Vikings snatched him up.
Johnson barely made a dent over the first half of last season, but surged down the stretch to lead Minnesota with 47 targets, 25 receptions and 415 receiving yards over the final seven weeks of the campaign. Before trading for Mike Wallace, Turner called the third-year target "far and away our best receiver," with general manager Rick Spielman saying of Johnson: "We're very excited about his potential, his ability."
"Charles continues to make plays," said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. "He catches the ball, he runs good routes. The touchdown that he caught, I though the guy was grabbing the heck out of him along the way, but Charles is a big, strong receiver that has good speed and I think they're developing a pretty good camaraderie between them."