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Lunch Break, 12/11: Wright's Role Evolving

Undersized and overlooked, Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright has spent his entire football career proving doubters wrong and making plays. The Arkansas native has made the most of chances thrown his way.

Ben Goessling of ESPN profiles Wright's ability to seize opportunities:

*It seems hard to believe now, considering how big of a part of the Minnesota Vikings offense Jarius Wright has become. But as Mike Zimmer recalls it, one of his first interactions with the wide receiver came this spring, when Wright was operating as though his place on the Vikings' roster wasn't a given.

"When I first got here, they were out running routes and he was talking about, 'I'll do anything to make the team,'" Zimmer said. "Now he's become a big part of a lot of things that we're doing, but he's taking advantages of these opportunities and he's worked really hard to do it." *

*One can sympathize with Wright if he thought the days he's enjoying now would never come. He spent the first half of his rookie season recovering from a sprained ankle and sitting idle on game days, until Percy Harvin's own sprained ankle created an opportunity for Wright to play. And then, after he caught a pair of long touchdown passes in the Vikings' playoff push in 2012, Wright was something of an afterthought for much of 2013, catching only four more passes in 16 games than he did in seven the previous year.

Wright was the Vikings' fourth receiver for much of training camp. But when the team cut the already-suspended Jerome Simpson, Wright seized his opportunity right at the same time the quarterback he'd worked with the most before the season -- Teddy Bridgewater -- was moving from the backup job to the starting spot.

The third-year receiver has already set career highs in catches (32) and yards (478) with three games left, and he's punctuated his first two 100-yard games with big gains off the same play -- a screen from Bridgewater that Wright took 52 yards in the QB's first start and 87 yards for a game-winning touchdown on Sunday.*

Wright's big play ability might not show up on a weekly basis but it does add a dimension the defense has to prepare and be ready for.

Quick Hitters

  • Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press: Hall of famer John Randle likes what he sees in team.
  • Via Mark Craig of the Star Tribune – Zimmer: I don't want to get sentimental here, but we've come a long, long way this year''
  • Eden Prairie's Carter Bykowski thrilled to come home from John Shipley.
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