Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Minnesota Vikings suffered an unfortunate blow less than two weeks into training camp. During Friday’s practice, third-year receiver Olabisi Johnson went down with a torn ACL, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Johnson was expected to compete with rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Chad Beebe for the Vikings’ No. 3 receiver alongside Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson.
A seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft, Johnson caught 45 passes for 483 yards and three touchdowns during his first two seasons in Minnesota. A contributor on both offense as well as on special teams, Johnson has nine career starts that including three in 2020. In his final start (a 28-27 win over the Panthers in Week 12), Johnson caught each of his seven targets for a career-best 74 yards.
Softening the blow of Johnson’s injury is the Vikings’ recent signing of former Jaguars receiver Dede Wesbrook. A fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft, Westbrook is nine months removed from suffering an ACL tear that prematurely ended his 2020 season. The 6-foot, 178-pound Westbrook caught 160 of 254 targets for 1,720 yards and nine touchdowns in 40 regular-season games with Jacksonville. During the 2018 and ’19 seasons, he caught a combined 132 passes for 1,377 yards and eight touchdowns.
Minnesota finished 14th in the NFL In passing in 2020. Veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 4,265 yards with 36 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Thielen led the Vikings with a career-high 14 touchdown receptions. Jefferson, who earned Pro Bowl honors during his first pro season, eclipsed Randy Moss’ 22-year-old franchise record for receiving yards by a rookie.