As anyone that watched the team this season knows, the Minnesota Vikings had plenty of issues offensively this past season. The team's scoring average dropped by about four points a game from the previous year, but things seemed to pick up later on in the season.
While a great deal of that can. . .and should. . .be credited to the improvement of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Norv Turner is giving some credit to another guy that showed some pretty solid improvement as the season went on, that being wide receiver Charles Johnson.
Johnson, who the Vikings signed off of the Cleveland Browns' practice squad in Week 3, got his first playing time in Week 5, and would up being third on the Vikings in receiving yards despite getting off to such a late start. In an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Turner was singing the praises of his young receiver.
When the Vikings lost Adrian Peterson after Week 1, they struggled for weeks without an offensive identity. Turner said it wasn't until after the Nov. 16 Bears game that the Vikings established an identity with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater running a spread-it-out offense over the final six games.
"Part of that was we started playing Charles Johnson, which gave us a different guy on the outside to attack," Turner said. "It created some differences in how people defended us. I think we became a much more efficient offensive football team and put ourselves in position to win games. We won some and there were some that a year from now, put in the same situation, we'll be ready to handle it and be ready to win."
Things like that were every bit as important to the 2014 season for the Vikings as the final record was. In addition to Bridgewater having to develop and "grow up" on the fly, this season gave players like Johnson and Jarius Wright the opportunity to step up and prove themselves. This is a very young team, and as this team heads into 2015 with guys like that already having some experience in the Norv Turner offense and having developed some chemistry with Bridgewater, the Vikings' offense has a very good chance of being much improved in 2015. I'm looking forward to players like Charles Johnson being a part of the offensive renaissance in Minnesota going forward.