Not bad as far as first impressions go

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 12, 2012 - 7:13 AM

Looking for a spark in their passing game with Percy Harvin injured, the Vikings turned right away to rookie Jarius Wright.

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Jarius Wright, a rookie fourth-round draft pick out of Arkansas, ran a deep post route and hauled in a 54-yard pass from Christian Ponder on the second regular-season snap of his career. Wright just missed scoring his first touchdown on the play. Turned out he would get another chance.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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When it mattered most, Jarius Wright made the catch and changed the perception of how good the Vikings' receiving corps can be when Percy Harvin returns from a sprained left ankle.

Funny how things in the NFL can change so drastically in a span of three hours each week.

In Friday's practice, Wright, the fourth-round draft pick out of Arkansas, dropped the deep ball the Vikings were banking on being open early in Sunday's game against the Lions at Mall of America Field.

"He was really down," coach Leslie Frazier said after Sunday's 34-24 win over the Lions at Mall of America Field. "He was thinking that we might not call it in the game."

You bet he was, Wright said.

"I was like, 'I can't miss my moment,'" Wright said. "That pass there, if I had dropped it, who knows what would have happened."

Lined up tight in a three-receiver set to the right on third-and-10 on the Vikings' first possession, Wright ran a deep post against a Cover 2 scheme. The middle linebacker didn't pick him up, and the safety couldn't match his speed.

Christian Ponder made a nice throw. Wright made a nicer diving catch, grabbing the ball for a 54-yard gain on only the second regular-season snap of his NFL career. Two plays later, Wright caught the cornerback sneaking inside, turned toward the pylon and made an easy grab for a 3-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

In three snaps, he went from being the unknown slot receiver stuck on the inactive list behind the similarly skilled Harvin to a playmaker who presumably will be worked into the offense alongside Harvin when the Vikings play at Chicago following next week's bye.

"I think it would be easy [to work him in], especially having a guy like Bill Musgrave as our offensive coordinator," Ponder said. "He's going to find ways to get both of them the ball. Jarius obviously earned a spot to play for the rest of the year. We want to get him out on the field. They are two very dynamic players, which would be fun to have on the field."

Wright finished with three catches for 65 yards and a smile when asked about the possibility of playing with Harvin instead of sitting behind him.

"I would love to see me and Percy on the field at the same time," Wright said. "We can stretch the field, and we can also get yards after the catch. Not to say other receivers can't do that, but me and Percy on the field at the same time would be a great sight to see."

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