Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings
Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune file
Jennings a surprise scratch
- Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS
- Star Tribune
- November 18, 2013 - 6:55 AM
SEATTLE – The Vikings had a shake-up in their wide receiver corps in Sunday’s 41-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Greg Jennings was a surprise injured inactive, while Jerome Simpson lost his starting job — for exactly one play — as punishment for his drunken driving arrest last week.
Jennings was listed as probable on the final injury report after dealing with a left Achilles’ injury in practice this week. Coach Leslie Frazier was asked on Friday if he had any concerns about Jennings not being able to play Sunday.
“No, he’ll be ready to go,” Frazier said.
However, Jennings said he woke up Sunday morning in pain and decided he couldn’t play after testing it during early warmups.
“It didn’t heal as well as we thought,” Jennings said. “Obviously when you wake up, you want to play. My mind-set was that I was going to go out there and play. But I woke up and it didn’t feel good enough to play. I wasn’t going to put myself or my team in that position.”
Jennings said he’s not sure how he suffered the injury.
“It’s the flukiest thing,” he said. “My body felt great and then I woke up Thursday morning and it was just bothering me. I’m not sure if it was something I did [in practice] Wednesday. Pretty sure something irritated it to allow it to do whatever it’s doing.”
Asked if he plans to play against his former team, the Green Bay Packers, this Sunday, Jennings said, “That’s the game plan.”
Frazier said Jennings’ injury affected Simpson’s punishment. Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson made his first start in place of Simpson. The team consulted with the league to determine what disciplinary actions were permissible under the collective bargaining agreement.
Patterson started, but Simpson entered the game on the second play.
“A little bit of that had to do with the injury to Greg,” Frazier said. “That changed the dynamics for what we wanted to be able to do.”
Frazier declined to say whether Simpson’s punishment would have been different had Jennings been able to play.
“No sense in me hypothetically talking about that now,” Frazier said. “The decision was made. Circumstances dictated this is how we had to do it.”
Simpson caught one pass for only 1 yard.
“When my number is called, I need to play,” Simpson said when asked about being benched. “I can’t really worry about that situation and not starting.”
Jarius Wright started in place of Jennings and had the best game of his career. He finished with three catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
“That feels good, but at the same time, losing leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” Wright said. “It’s a bittersweet feeling, but I think more about the loss than what I did in this game.”
Wright beat All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman on his 38-yard touchdown catch in the first half.
Wilson has big day
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had his usual efficient performance. He completed 13 of 18 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns and a career-high 151.4 passer rating.
Wilson improved to 13-0 at CenturyLink Field and he now has 21 career victories, tying Dan Marino for second-most in NFL history through the first two seasons. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger won 22 games his first two seasons.
“I have been in love with Russell since I got over here,” former Vikings receiver Percy Harvin said. “He just makes everybody else feel that much more comfortable because he knows the system so much. If anything ever happens, you just go to him and he’ll put you where you need to be.”
Both of Wilson’s touchdown passes carried a high degree of difficulty. On his 19-yard touchdown to Doug Baldwin with 10 seconds left in the first half, Wilson squeezed his throw between cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Andrew Sendejo.
He executed a trick pass to Marshawn Lynch for a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Under pressure, Wilson flipped the ball to Lynch, who was actually his fourth read on the play.
“Just a little shortstop/ second baseman flip,” said Wilson, a former minor league baseball player. “A little double play.”
• Vikings center John Sullivan left the game in the fourth quarter after being evaluated for a head injury. He was replaced by Joe Berger.
• The Seahawks set a franchise record with their 13th consecutive home victory.
• The Vikings other inactives were quarterback Josh Freeman, cornerback Shaun Prater, running back Matt Asiata, guard Jeff Baca, tight end Kyle Rudolph and nose tackle Letroy Guion.
• The Seahawks entered having allowed only 15 punt return yards in their first 10 games and they stayed at that number. Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels had three fair catches and no returns.
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