Vikings receivers step up their games

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 31, 2012 - 12:21 AM

Devin Aromashodu showed he wants to stick around for the regular season by grabbing five passes, including a 58-yard TD.

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Vikings receiver Devin Aromashodu broke away from Houston safety Quintin Demps on his way to a 58-yard touchdown reception Thursday night.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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HOUSTON - The Vikings made it clear heading into Thursday's preseason finale that they wanted to see more from their receivers. Yes, coach Leslie Frazier feels comfortable with Percy Harvin as his top pass catcher. And Jerome Simpson should provide big-play potential when he returns from a three-game suspension. Yet depth has been an issue with the receivers, and Thursday's game provided one last chance to sort through the questions.

Rookie Jarius Wright saw his most extensive action and chipped in with several big plays. He had a 20-yard run on an end-around late in the first quarter and also made a terrific 22-yard catch in traffic.

Wright's biggest play was a 59-yard TD catch from McLeod Bethel-Thompson early in the second half.

"When we drafted him, we thought he was a guy who could make big plays," Frazier said. "And he exemplified that tonight. He made some big plays, had a lot of touches. And it was a lot of what we saw when Rick [Spielman] and the scouts presented him to us as a staff. He's a guy who has a lot of toughness, plays bigger than his size and is pretty good with the ball after the catch."

Wright finished with 142 yards from scrimmage on seven touches and, after the game, didn't seem bothered by the left ankle he rolled in the fourth quarter.

Seventh-year veteran Devin Aromashodu caught five passes for 89 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown grab.

"He's shown he can make plays down the field," Frazier said. "And that's what we wanted to be able to see tonight."

The Vikings likely will keep six receivers on their 53-man roster. Behind Harvin, Simpson, Wright, Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins, the two receivers seemingly fighting for the last roster spot are Stephen Burton (three catches, 47 yards Thursday) and Emmanuel Arceneaux (two catches, 28 yards).

Peterson update

The Vikings' next game comes Sept. 9 against Jacksonville. In the regular-season opener. You know, the game running back Adrian Peterson set as his goal for making his return to action after knee surgery last December.

Asked Thursday night when a decision on Peterson would come, Frazier said it would likely "be a game-time decision."

"We've got a lot of things we want to get done with him this week. I doubt that we would know, without getting him through an entire week, whether he'd be ready to play in a football game."

Holliday spirit

Texans return specialist Trindon Holliday entered Thursday;s game averaging 43.7 yards on seven preseason kickoff returns and 16.4 yards on eight punt returns. The 5-5, 170-pound Holliday has done nothing but sizzle when given breathing room. Holliday showcased his stellar speed -- he was a track standout at LSU -- on a 76-yard punt return score in the third quarter. Holliday had two punt return touchdowns and a kick return score in the preseason.

Walsh's woes

Rookie kicker Blair Walsh pulled his first field goal attempt, a 43-yarder, wide left Thursday. That was his third miss in eight attempts. Walsh also missed a 49-yarder against Buffalo and a 45-yarder against San Diego. Walsh finished the preseason 9-for-12 and was 3-for-6 from outside of 40 yards.

Etc.

• Wright and linebacker Marvin Mitchell both left the game with sprained ankles. Offensive tackle DeMarcus Love aggravated a shoulder injury.

• Joe Webb played the first two series. He led the Vikings on drives of 58 and 64 yards, completing four of seven pass attempts for 47 yards and added 22 rushing yards.

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