Charles Johnson has started the past two games for the Minnesota Vikings at split end and was on the field for all but one snap in a win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
He’s still officially listed third on the Vikings’ depth chart, but offensive coordinator Norv Turner said on Thursday what has seemed obvious: Johnson is the team’s starting split end, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com reports.
In response to a question about Cordarrelle Patterson‘s lack of playing time on Sunday, Turner listed Johnson’s strong play as one of the reasons Patterson’s role has changed with the Vikings. “CJ is playing at a high level,” he said. “CJ is the starter at X [receiver]. That’s the position Cordarrelle plays. We’re going to do what we can to give him some opportunities to play there, but CJ’s playing at a real high level right now.”
Turner repeated what coach Mike Zimmer said earlier this week about the Vikings’ limited role for Patterson on Sunday, saying it was due to the amount of practice time Patterson missed. The receiver, who was at a funeral for a family member of his daughter’s mother, was not at practice on Wednesday or Thursday last week as the Vikings prepared for Carolina.
“Anyone that’s in a situation where he didn’t play last week would be frustrated,” Turner said. “But Cordarrelle knows. He wasn’t here all week. He missed Monday and Tuesday — Monday, we have our meetings — he missed Wednesday and Thursday, he was out of town at a funeral. It’s hard to get ready; we have a totally different game plan for Carolina. And then you combine it with blocking two punts in the first half, and us not really having the ball. I expect Cordarrelle to play, and play like he has.”
“I hope I get more playing time than I did last week — only three reps,” Patterson said. “That’s not always good. We’ll see how this week goes.”