Bisi Johnson left the Vikings preseason finale against the Denver Broncos with a knee injury that Kevin O’Connell described as one that “did not look good”. It turns out that O’Connell’s assumption was correct as Johnson tore his ACL, and is presumably out for the year, per Tom Pelissero.
This is now the second consecutive season that Johnson will miss with a torn ACL, and this one is in the opposite knee from last year’s tear. O’Connell praised Johnson throughout his press conference last night, saying that if he had stayed healthy, the wide receiver had done enough to make the roster.
Behind the quartet of Justin Jefferson/Adam Thielen/KJ Osborn/Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Johnson consistently looked like the WR5 of this Vikings team throughout training camp and preseason. In three games, Johnson recorded five receptions for 54 yards.
Johnson has not appeared in a regular season game since the 2020 season because of these back-to-back ACL tears, but he has looked like a promising receiver throughout his entire career. Kirk Cousins spoke very highly of him as training camp was getting underway, and it seemed like Johnson has been a player on the cusp of a breakout year in each of the last two summers.
Particularly in games he has been forced to start, Johnson has always stepped up. In 2020, he started in place of Adam Thielen against the Carolina Panthers and recorded seven catches for 74 yards. Throughout his career, Johnson has played 32 games with nine starts and has recorded 45 receptions for 483 yards and three touchdowns.
2022 was an especially big year for Johnson considering that he will enter free agency this winter. A healthy season with some essence of production would have gone a long way towards ensuring he got another contract at the NFL level. Now, the 25-year-old receiver will enter his negotiations having missed 34 consecutive regular season games.
As for the Vikings this opens up the potential to keep another wide receiver that has been on the bubble throughout camp. Two names that come to mind are Myron Mitchell and Trishton Jackson, though neither of them have stood out with their play in recent weeks. Ultimately, the Vikings final cutdown must be completed by Tuesday afternoon, so we will soon find out how everything will shake out.