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Continued: Hartman: 4-0 start brings optimism to Gophers

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 22, 2013 - 12:01 AM

Second-year wideouts missing

When the Vikings selected Jarius Wright and Greg Childs in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft, they were hoping to get a set of college teammates from Arkansas that could come in and mesh with young starter Christian Ponder.

But Childs suffered a devastating injury to both his knees in his first training camp and has yet to play in an NFL game, and Wright, after having a successful rookie campaign, has been largely absent this year.

Wright was asked if it’s difficult to not being seeing as many passes with veterans Jerome Simpson and Greg Jennings getting the bulk of the throws.

“You know the first game we only ran about 44 plays, and we have a lot of great weapons in our room, so we have to try and spread the ball around a lot,” Wright said. “I think I got thrown at twice or maybe three times the first game, and two times the second game. So you know, you just have to wait your turn, and when my game comes, I’ll be able to take full advantage of it.”

Wright has just one reception for 21 yards through two games, but he said that doesn’t get him down.

“It doesn’t get frustrating,” Wright said. “Whenever I’m on the field I play 100 percent, and as long as I’m playing 100 percent and going as hard as I can and winning my matchups on the field, it doesn’t get frustrating.”

SID’s JOTTINGS

• Former Vikings coach Brad Childress was hired by Andy Reid, along with former Nevada coach Chris Ault, to help the Chiefs with their spread offense this season. After Kansas City defeated the Eagles on Thursday, Reid was asked if that game-planning has helped the team in its 3-0 start. “You saw us on the pistol looks in this game and you saw some last week with the option game,” said Reid, who worked with Childress for seven years in Philadelphia. “… It also helped last game, a couple of things, the wrinkles that we’ve done in the past games and they’ve come off that. So, I would tell you, yep.” Childress’ official title with the Chiefs is “spread game analyst/special projects coach.”

• Former world heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who died last week at age 70, fought twice in Minnesota. He fought at the St. Paul Civic Center on Aug. 14, 1975, beating Jose Luis Garcia in a fifth-round knockout, and on Aug. 19, 1979, he fought Scott LeDoux at Met Center in Bloomington, a fight that ended in a draw. Norton, who was knocked down twice in the 10th round against LeDoux, fought just twice more after that bout.

• Bill Pohlad, one of the owners of the Twins along with his brothers, is currently filming his first directorial feature in 20 years, but before that he is one of the main producers on the film “12 Years a Slave,” which is considered to be the top contender for Best Picture at the next Academy Awards. The film recently won the Toronto Film Festival’s top prize and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Paul Giamatti, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt, who is another one of the producers.

• While former Gophers quarterback Adam Weber hasn’t found an NFL roster spot yet after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was in town on Saturday to talk football on the Gophers pregame show.
 

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  • Mitch Leidner’s strong performance Saturday — 151 yards rushing and four touchdowns — in the Gophers’ 43-24 victory over San Jose State earned him both plenty of praise and this hug from coach Jerry Kill’s wife, Rebecca.

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