Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson said “It’s just unfortunate circumstances that turned this year,” while cleaning out his locker at Winter Park on Monday.
Johnson entered the 2015 campaign as a starter and one of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite targets in the preseason, but a rib injury in Week 3 derailed his season. He missed the next two games and caught just three passes the rest of the season.
Johnson was last targeted in Week 9 and spent the last four Sundays of the season inactive.
“I’m still able to play. It was nothing I really did. It was just unfortunate circumstances,” Johnson added.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said “It came down to a numbers game a little bit. [Stefon] Diggs came in and had a big role. I wanted to dress more guys on defense.”
Once Johnson went down, rookie wide receiver Diggs emerged as a standout in the Vikings offense. Diggs racked up 216 receiving yards in Johnson’s two-week absence and took over the starting role for the rest of the season.
Johnson reminded the Vikings coaching staff what he was capable of by pulling down a big 35-yard catch in Week 8 against Chicago to set up the game-winning field goal. That wasn’t enough to get back on the field regularly, though.
“They were were flowing and I just went in there and made a play and we won a game, it was really nothing,” Johnson said.
Johnson has another year on his contract before becoming a restricted free agent and is hopeful he find a way back on the field.
“Continue to do what I do,” Johnson said, “just continue to go out there and work hard and get better each day and see what happens.”
He finished the season with nine catches for 127 yards and no touchdowns.