Since being drafted in April Jarius Wright has been described as a Percy Harvin-type receiver, primarily a slot receiver, for a lot of reasons. He is fast. He is not particularly tall. He has a rather thick, strong build.
Not that this is a bad thing, as Wright joked Monday. “Being compared to Percy Harvin doesn’t bother me at all,” he said.
But it wasn’t until Harvin was hurt that Wright was finally activated for a game. And Wright responded. He caught a 54-yard pass from Christian Ponder on the Vikings’ first series. Two plays later he made his first career TD catch. He finished with three catches for 65 yards.
With Harvin’s sprained ankle expected to be healthy coming out of the bye, the question is whether the Vikings can – or will – try to use both receivers at the same time. After all, Wright did show some field-stretching speed.
“We always felt he had a chance to help us,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “That was the reason we drafted him. To see him play as well as he did is great for our team, great for his confidence. (But) it will always be week-to-week with some guys. It probably won’t be any different with Jarius. We’ll take a look at him every week.”
Wright, meanwhile, sounded very confident that the team’s offense has room for both he and Harvin.
“There is definitely room for me and Percy on the field at the same time,” he said. “And I’m sure in the future you might get a chance to see some of that. Me and Percy go bring similar styles of game to the field. But, at the same time, who’s complaining about what me or Percy brings to the game?
A good question.
Wright said he has gotten the majority of his practice snaps in the slot, but said he could play outside if asked.
When asked if two smaller-sized receivers could work together on the field, Frazier said yes.
“If you believe a guy can really help you get it done, you’ll figure out a way to make that work numbers-wise,” he said. “It does mean you have to put someone else down if you dress five wide receivers. But there are ways we can get that done if we want both of them on the field.”
Wright, for one, was just happy to have been on the field Sunday.
“I’m very excited about my performance,” he said. “And I’m glad I was able to help the team. I’m glad the coaches gave me the chance to be able to help the team. And hopefully they continue to give me that opportunity.”
HEALTHY FOR THE STRETCH RUN
A knee injury kept him out of the preseason, and a concussion kept him out of two regular season games. But tight end John Carlson is healthy now and will be for the stretch run. But does that men a bigger role in the passing game? Carlson, an off-season free agent signing, caught one pass for 11 yards against Detroit Sunday and has just four receptions this season.
“Obviously I want to contribute,” he said. “I want to help the offense. Yes, I would like to be involved more. But there have been some things that have happened. I’ve had some setbacks to deal with over the course of the season. And the team goals always come first, whether I have 50 catches or four catches. The team goals always come first.”
And that, he said, means doing whatever he’s asked to do.
“Whether it’s playing more and blocking in the run game or protecting in the pass game or catching more balls, I want to contribute and help the team win,” he said. “but I need to continue to work and earn that right.”
LET THE COMPETITION BEGIN
Safety Mistral Raymond said he felt 100 percent healthy in his return to action after missing six games with an ankle injury. He was used in a rotation at the position along with Jamarca Sanford Sunday. Given that he was the starter when the season began, and the fact that Sanford played well in his absence, there figures to be some strong competition for playing time going forward.
“Always has been,” he said. “Ever since I’ve been here there always has been. And that makes us all better.”
--Tight end Kyle Rudolph said his bye-week plans are to go to South Dakota with John Sullivan, Chad Greenway and Cullen Loeffler to do some pheasant hunting. It should be interesting, considering Rudolph said he’s never hunted before.