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Timeout with Jarius Wright

Jarius Wright is humble, but perhaps more importantly, he's reliable.

In addition to moving past career milestones of 150-plus receptions, 2,000-plus receiving yards and 10 touchdowns this season, Wright has helped the Vikings move the chains.

Thirteen of Wright's 18 catches in 2017 resulted in first downs, a count that includes two touchdowns. Ten of Wright's receptions occurred on third downs, and eight of those were responsible for earning the Vikings a fresh set of downs (includes one touchdown).

Nine receptions occurred on scoring drives, including catches that immediately preceded touchdowns by Stefon Diggs against New Orleans and Kyle Rudolph at Detroit.

Wright made his way into the end zone twice in 2017, scoring against Tampa Bay and at Washington. His 18 catches on 25 targets is a catch rate of 72.0 percent, which was second on the Vikings this season among players with at least 25 targets behind Jerick McKinnon's rate of 75.0 percent (51 receptions on 68 targets).

The humility and success that Wright has experienced with the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Vikings since his selection in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft can be traced to Warren, Arkansas, and the work ethic of his father, a retired Arkansas State Trooper who also served as a reservist in the U.S. Army on weekends.

"Super-small town, 6,000 people," Wright said. "It's like growing up in a bubble. Everybody knows everybody. If you do something on one side of town, everybody will know about it before you even finish doing it, but I love the town. It made me who I am today.

"Everything I do is to put the town on the map," Wright continued. "A lot of people don't know about it, and a lot of people don't even know about Arkansas, so I love my town, I love the people back home. They've supported me throughout."

Wright said he is grateful for the opportunities his father extended to him.

"My dad was a hard worker," Wright said. "Of course, he did it so I would have a better life. That instilled a better work ethic with me, and it kind of stuck. When you're doing something you love, it's very easy, but seeing the way he worked, he didn't get a lot of breaks, so he did what he could. I just wanted to continue to be a hard worker, and that definitely helped me get where I am now and maintain my career."

Q. You've been part of playoff teams here in 2012 and 2015; what does it mean to play another home playoff game?

A: It means the world because of the fans that have backed us for so long, the good and the bad years. Of course, we've got to take it one game at a time, but having a home-field advantage today is amazing and gives the fans a chance to watch some playoff football.

Q: This team had the second-most wins in a regular season in team history. What enabled that success?

A: We've just been building for this moment, if you ask me. The team has become closer on and off the field, and I think that has played a big role in where we are at now. The trust that these guys have in each other is remarkable.

Q: Your role has been a little different this year, but you've been able to help on important third downs. How do you stay ready to come through at those times?

A: I've just been in this league for a long time, and I understand that sometimes you just have to play a role. I'm a team player. The team comes first, so whatever my role is — it just happened to be third down — I'm going to do it with 100-percent effort. I see myself as a pretty good player, so whenever I get my chances, I'm going to make the most out of every play.

Q: If you ask 100 fans, it's likely that their favorite highlight of yours was the 87-yard game-winning touchdown against the New York Jets in 2014. What do you remember from the play?

A: It was a crazy play, but it was definitely one of my top plays for sure. It was third-and-5, and it was a long field. We were in OT, so my thought process was get the first down and keep the chains moving so we could continue the drive because if we don't get that, then they could win with a field goal. My mindset was to get the first down, and before you knew it, I broke one tackle and saw a lot of open field. I just ran to the open field. Emotions were super high. My emotions were so crazy I threw up in the locker room.

Q: You were flying down the field on that play, but time also has flown by. Is it hard to believe that this is your sixth season with the Vikings and you're the oldest player in your position group?

A: It is hard to believe. It definitely has flown by. I'm one of the older guys in the locker room. It's kind of surreal when you look around and see how many guys are still here and how many guys are gone and you are one of the guys that happens to still be here.

Q: What is the significance of wearing No. 17 on your jersey?

A: It's crazy, because when I first got here, it was just another number, but it definitely grew on me. Now, it's one of my favorite numbers. I was 6 in high school and 4 in college. We couldn't get single-digit numbers, and I wouldn't look right with a number in the 80s, so I had to get a small number. I love smaller numbers because I used to play quarterback in high school.

Q: This offseason, several people said they thought this team would more closely resemble the team that started 5-0 in 2016. Did this exceed your expectations?

A: I don't think we exceeded my expectations because last year we started 5-0 and expected it to continue, and we didn't do as good as we thought we would, but just early in this year's training camp, you could tell what type of team we would have. Our defense helps the offense out a lot, and our offense helps the defense. When you're competing with guys like we compete and the guys we have on this team, you build something great. I think we have something great, and we're definitely going to try to win a Super Bowl for Minnesota.

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