The 2012 season for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright was derailed early by a preseason ankle injury, and he was not even active for the first nine regular season games despite returning to health before that point. But when Percy Harvin was sidelined for the rest of the season by an ankle injury of his own, Wright got an opportunity to play down the stretch as the Vikings earned a spot in the postseason. In eight games, including Minnesota’s playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, Wright had 24 receptions for 323 yards and two touchdowns during his rookie season.
With Harvin being traded to the Seattle Seahawks in March, Wright now has a chance to take over as Minnesota’s primary slot receiver and he could also see time as a return man. In any case, better health through the preseason should allow Wright to take on a greater role right out of the gate in his second season.
Wright is more or less guaranteed a roster spot at this point, so training camp and the preseason will be more about determining his all-around role and building further rapport with quarterback Christian Ponder. Among the Vikings’ current crop of wide receivers Wright has little in terms of obvious competition for snaps as a slot receiver, but rookie Cordarrelle Patterson could be used in that role some in an effort to get the ball in his hands as much as possible.
I think Wright has a chance to be an impact player for the Vikings in 2013, as long as the coaching staff does not limit how he is used. I’d like to see him get some chances as a kickoff and punt returner, and with the big play ability he showed as a rookie it would be nice to see him line up on the outside and run a vertical route once in awhile.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.