With Harvin's injury, it might be Wright time

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 8, 2012 - 6:51 AM

The Vikings rookie receiver hasn't played in a regular-season game, but he's working as if opportunity is knocking.

Eighteen receivers were among the first 118 players selected in this year's NFL draft. The first 17 have been active for at least one regular-season game.

And then there's Jarius Wright, pick No. 118, the invisible man to all but those who get to watch the Vikings practice.

Despite playing, er, practicing for a team starving for another play-making receiver, Wright remains stuck in a seemingly parallel universe where he runs in place doing nothing while his peers in the Vikings draft class bring strength, stardom or depth to other previously weak areas at offensive line, defensive back, tight end and the kicking game.

"It's just been real difficult because I like to play," said Wright, who caught 168 passes, averaged 17.5 yards and scored 24 times at Arkansas. "I like to compete. I like to help the team out."

Yet Wright has sat while others zoom on by. Three of the next six receivers drafted behind him already have played and caught passes. One of the three who hasn't is Wright's college and pro teammate, Greg Childs, who certainly would have played by now if he hadn't blown out both knees in training camp.

Wright, meanwhile, has spent the past nine weeks as a back-burner curiosity among fans still clinging to the possibilities they attached to him after he caught six passes for 122 yards (20.3), including a 59-yard touchdown, against Houston's backups in the Vikings' preseason finale. But the 5-10, 180-pounder suddenly finds himself relevant again. Percy Harvin, the guy he backs up, is on crutches with a left ankle the size of a Butterball turkey that's unlikely to shrink in time for Sunday's game against the Lions at Mall of America Field.

"Me, personally, I do think it's my opportunity to crack the door," Wright said. "I've been patiently waiting and if they feel like I'm ready, I feel like I'm ready also."

Reporters aren't allowed to watch any meaningful part of practice during the regular season. So any reports of progress that Wright has made from an undistinguished training camp come from coaches and teammates who always protect their own.

"He's worked really hard in practice, working hard in the weight room," coach Leslie Frazier said. "He's doing everything we've asked him to do. He's on top of what he needs to know from an offensive standpoint. It's just a matter of us going with four receivers at a time. We like some things Stephen Burton gives us when we've gotten Stephen up. But Jarius is doing a good job."

Being stuck behind Burton and his four career catches isn't exactly an endorsement for the highest draft pick at receiver, a position of need. But there's more to Wright's inability to fit into this team's game-day roster puzzle.

"He and Percy are very similar in a lot of ways, and the way we would use him is similar to the way we use Percy," Frazier said. "So that's part of it, for sure."

Even Wright has to smile when someone compares him to Harvin. They're similar in stature, only Wright lacks the Hulk Jr. muscles and crash-test-dummy mentality toward contact that Harvin possesses.

"Uh, I mean, there aren't many people who can get out there and fill Percy's role," Wright said. "With me, you just try to fill the speed part. He's bigger as far as muscles and the like, but our body styles are pretty much the same. As far as body style and speed, that's what you try to get out of that."

The last time the Vikings played the Lions, they won 20-13 at Ford Field in Week 4. Harvin, the league's leader in receptions, was held to three catches for 22 yards. But he did return the game's opening kickoff a franchise-record 105 yards for a touchdown.

Wright said he might have a chance to return kicks as well. The Vikings will go over kick returns in practice on Friday. Marcus Sherels is the favorite to return kicks if Harvin doesn't.

"I'm not going to lie," he said. "I've been praying that I see my name up there. I just want to get a chance to help out the Minnesota Vikings as much as I can."

As for the pressure of filling in for Harvin, an early league MVP candidate, Wright only shrugs.

"I don't think it's any pressure," he said. "I've been doing this my whole life."

Except for the past nine weeks, of course.

  • VIKINGS WEEK 10

    Up next: Noon Sunday vs. Detroit Mall of America Field • Ch. 9 (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 0 1st Qtr 10:08
San Francisco 0
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 2nd Prd
Nashville 0
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 67 2nd Half 7:37
North Carolina 42
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 6 1st Half 15:40
Western Mich 4
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 7 2nd Qtr 4:33
Texas A&M 7
(6) TCU 13 2nd Qtr 7:56
Texas 3
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 16 1st Half 3:37
Richmond 21
Oklahoma 5 1st Half 17:03
South Florida 6
Princeton 6 1st Half 14:33
Wake Forest 5
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close