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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Broken rib healed, Charles Johnson says he’d embrace new competition: ‘May the best man win’

By Andrew Krammer

CALEDONIA, Minn. — Charles Johnson is out to prove he’s healthy, just as he revealed Thursday his injured rib was actually broken.

After a couple days of workouts with teammates in Florida, Johnson returned to Minnesota on Wednesday night in time to help the Vikings deliver a $10,000 check to Caledonia High School, which molded Vikings receiver Isaac Fruechte, as part of being named the Minnesota football program of the year. Speaking at the school Thursday with Fruechte and running back Matt Asiata, Johnson was candid about the biggest play in his quiet 2015 season.

Johnson played seven snaps in the Vikings’ Nov. 1 win at Soldier Field, and his lone catch was a 35-yard leaping grab deep in Bears territory to set up the game-winning field goal. He’d suffered the broken rib about five weeks earlier, and was admittedly frustrated about his rib and lack of playing time. Upon getting his number called in Chicago, Johnson told an auditorium full of high school students that he initially hesitated, before taking the field and ultimately saving the game late in the fourth quarter.

Afterward, Johnson further shed light on a “painful” rib injury that he initially thought would go away, but would put a damper on most of his season.

“Before that [Bears game], if I would jog, every step I took it would pop out,” Johnson said. “It was pretty painful, but I think around that time I was able to manage…I broke the 10th one I think, or something like that. And it would keep shifting. That stuff is painful. You can’t sneeze, can’t move. Laughing hurts. It’s all good now, I’m good. I’ve got a strong rib.”

Johnson, 27, could have what the Vikings need at receiver — a big, leaping target at 6-foot-2. He made an impact upon arrival, taking over a starting role from Cordarrelle Patterson just weeks after he was signed off the Cleveland Browns practice squad in September 2014. Johnson compiled 31 catches for 475 yards [15.3 yards per], most coming in the final seven games of that season.

He entered last season as the Vikings’ starting split end. But by the third game, Johnson took the hit against San Diego that broke one of his ribs. He caught three passes the rest of the season, as rookie Stefon Diggs emerged a focal point of the offense.

Now, Johnson said he’s healthy, and has worked to test that notion by spending much of his down time working out and connecting with teammates in Minnesota. The Vikings need a receiver to emerge as a go-to target for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and Johnson is one hopeful. While he has enough to prove on his own, the Vikings appear set to add to the competition by drafting a receiver this month. Mike Wallace’s release and the addition of CFL receiver Terrell Sinkfield have been the Vikings’ only moves at the position so far.

General manager Rick Spielman has personally watched pro days this spring featuring standout receivers at Ohio State, Ole Miss, TCU and Baylor.

“It’s really not going to affect me and my approach to the season,” Johnson said. “Just do my thing, give everything I have.

“May the best man win.”

The post Broken rib healed, Charles Johnson says he’d embrace new competition: ‘May the best man win’ appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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