Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 1:34pm
Fortunately for the Vikings' receiver depth, their offense has two things working in its favor. First, OC Norv Turner makes frequent use of two-tight end sets; the San Diego Chargers used more of them than all but one team while Turner was the head coach from 2007-12, and used the fewest three-receiver formations during that time. And second, the Vikings have another versatile wideout in third-year man Jarius Wright.
The 5-foot-11 Wright, who'd been cast as a slot receiver early in his rookie year, actually ran 192 of his 252 routes lined up wide last season, as Jennings and Patterson got more of the slot work. He caught 23 of his 26 passes lined up out wide, and clicked with quarterback Matt Cassel late in the season, catching 14 of his 26 passes from Cassel for 252 yards. Wright saw 30.7 percent of his routes from the slot during the preseason, and he's got plenty to prove in Year 3 as he tries to carve out a niche in the offense, so he should be ready and eager to fit into the Vikings' scheme while Simpson is out.
The story breaks it down in depth on how the team will move its WRs around this year based on the preseason: During their third preseason game in Kansas City, when the Vikings' starters played almost all of the first three quarters, they ran 18 plays out of three-receiver sets, displaying impressive variety in how they lined up their three wideouts. Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings and Simpson all saw time on both sides and in the slot. It's perhaps especially good news for Patterson owners that the team is trying to create mismatches for the talented WR.
This will open up opportunities for Jarius Wright early in the season.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 4:29pm
Versatility from Vikings wide outs is what receivers coach George Stewart views as a strength for his group that hopes to be featured more with steady quarterback play.
"In Norv's offense, everything's up for everyone," Stewart said. "We have guys that can handle different things. Hopefully we have a chance to be very, very, very multiple at the outside receiver spot."
Jarius Wright became the first receiver since Titus Young on Oct. 28, 2012 to record multiple touchdown catches against the Seahawks when he caught a 21-yarder from the slot position later in the game.
However, Wright only lined up in the slot about a quarter of his snaps last season as the team prominently featured Jennings in that role. With Cordarrelle Patterson's continued development and a proven downfield threat in Jerome Simpson, Wright's versatility despite his lack of height will help his cause to be more featured in his third NFL season.
Wright looks like he's going to get time in the slot this season as the team's WR3, but he's going to have to prove himself before being fantasy worthy. The Vikes are also going to rely heavily on TE Kyle Rudolph in the passing game, according to reports, so Wright will have to fight for targets.
After nearly one week of training camp, Greg Jennings' head is spinning a little less as he addressed the predictability factor that running back Adrian Peterson said hindered the Minnesota Vikings offense in the past.
"We were heavy, heavy, heavy run game," Jennings said. "Now we're going to take a lot more stress off Adrian. He's still going to get a heavy dosage of runs, but I think what Norv brings to the table is a more balanced offense."
When Jennings signed with the Vikings, the initial intention by the previous coaching staff was to use him as a flanker. However, he lined up in the slot 65 percent of the snaps last season, per PFF, and Turner wants to use Jennings in a similar fashion - but in a vastly different scheme.
During training camp practices, the Vikings appear to be using two split ends on the field more so than in previous schemes as Jerome Simpson and Cordarrelle Patterson line up on the outside, with Jennings and/or Jarius Wright on the inside.
Jennings dealt with some injuries in 2013 but he showed a nice rapport with Matt Cassel, averaging 5.9 catches for 70 yards and 0.57 TD with Cassel under center. Unfortunately Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman dragged the Vikings FP/Att into the bottom seven in the league. Assuming Cassel or promising rookie Teddy Bridgewater can offer better efficiency, Jennings should bounce back as most fantasy eyes are set squarely on Cordarrelle Patterson. For what it’s worth, Cassel’s FP/Att was 0.971, which was very close to the league average. Jennings is going in the 13th round even though he finished as the #39 WR in 2013.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 7:32pm
Vikings QB battle update: After both Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater looked sharp in last week's open OTA, each of them had a rougher day on Wednesday. Cassel had his final throw batted down in 11-on-11 work, and Bridgewater was intercepted by Dom DeCicco on a pass over the middle. The rookie also was sacked a couple times during a blitz drill, and missed three of his four throws. The Vikings' defense was using a number of different looks on Wednesday, though, and it seemed clear that the offense was trying to digest a number of new concepts while facing a more nuanced defense. Days like Wednesday are part of the growing pains in a new system. Christian Ponder didn't get as much work as Cassel or Bridgewater, but he actually made some nice throws, hitting Jarius Wright on a throw over the middle in a receiver-vs.-cornerback drill and connecting with Kain Colter on a long pass off a broken play during a two-minute drill.
Vikings beat writer Ben Gosseling on the team's QB play at practice:
Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who missed the Vikings' final two OTAs last week while he was attending a NFL rookie marketing event in Los Angeles, is back this week and was impressive in his first full-team work open to the media. He hit his first nine throws in 11-on-11 work, connecting with Adam Thielen on a long sideline pass against tight coverage on his first attempt of the day. Bridgewater also connected with Jarius Wright on a long corner throw during his two-minute drill, which ended with a rushing touchdown. "I thought Teddy did a nice job in the two-minute situation, hit a nice long ball there," coach Mike Zimmer said. "He left for those two days, he was a little rusty when he came back, and he's picked it up since then. He's kind of feeling his way a little bit around the guys, which will come in time. He'll keep progressing, getting more comfortable. I like him a lot."
Matt Cassel got the majority of the first-team snaps at quarterback, though Bridgewater had some in his two-minute drill. Cassel, by my count, was 8-for-9 in the Vikings' first 11-on-11 period, and hit four of his eight throws during the two-minute drill (though Kyle Rudolph was arguing for interference on one of the incompletions). Cassel found Wright for a touchdown on a red zone throw, and threw another touchdown on a broken play, though the play wouldn't have developed that way had a defense actually been coming after Cassel.
We're expecting Bridgewater to win the job, but he'll have to beat out Cassel who was reasonably solid in 2013.
CB A.J. Jefferson (ankle)
T Matt Kalil (back), WR Rodney Smith (hip)
DE Jared Allen (ankle), TE Rhett Ellison (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (hamstring), QB Christian Ponder (rib), CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle), C John Sullivan (hand), K Blair Walsh (left hamstring), DT Kevin Williams (knee), WR Jarius Wright (ankle)
CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring), RB David Wilson (neck)
C David Baas (neck), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), CB Corey Webster (groin)
Peterson is listed as probable and was limited in practice on Saturday after not practicing on Friday. He's expected to play.
Jacobs did not practice on Saturday after being limited Thursday and Friday. It very well could be to make sure he's OK for the game, but it could also be a setback, so he's a little more risky. Michael Cox and newly-signed Peyton Hillis are the only backs behind Jacobs, so if you need Jacobs in your lineup, there isn't exactly a dependable backup plan you can put in place.
Friday, October 18, 2013, 7:10pm
Thursday, October 17, 2013, 6:26pm
Friday, August 23, 2013, 8:49pm
Saturday, August 17, 2013, 9:05pm
Friday, August 9, 2013, 8:15pm
"The bottom line with [Jarius Wright] is he knows what to do all of the time," Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. "He can help the other guys in that room. With all of the new faces in the receiving room, he helps them in the meeting room, during the drills and also of course when they break the huddle."
The 5-foot-10 Wright initially was pigeon-holed as a slot receiver, but has shown an ability to get down the field on the perimeter. He had three catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in Week 10 and finished the season with 22 catches for 310 yards and two scores in the final seven games.
No one expects Wright to fill Harvin's production on his own, but showing that he is capable of being a threat could help take the opposing defense's eye off of Adrian Peterson, Jennings and tight end Kyle Rudolph on occasion.
Given the current state of the Minnesota receiving corps, it's not inconceivable that Wright could see a lot of snaps in the slot and also in a rotation with Jerome Simpson and Cordarelle Patterson on the outside.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 7:46pm
While Greg Jennings and Cordarelle Patterson adjusted to their new team, Jarius Wright was the most productive receiver during the practices I watched. At the moment, the Vikings have locked him into the slot position while Jennings and Simpson work on the outside. But Wright said: "I'm trying to prove I'm not just an inside guy. I want them to see I can play on the outside, too."
Five days into training camp, the pecking order at receiver remains in deference to the veterans. Running a majority of three-receiver sets, the Vikings have stuck with Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings and second-year pro Jarius Wright in the slot. Rookie first-round draft pick Cordarrelle Patterson appears to be the fourth receiver, although his size and skill level suggests that will change. When is the question, not if.
Because the Vikings do a good job of mixing and matching receivers with quarterbacks, all the top receivers get ample opportunities to work on their timing with both Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. One of the highlights Wednesday came during one-on-one drills when Patterson leapt high in the air against starting cornerback Chris Cook and showed the concentration to make a falling catch of a Ponder deep ball.
Patterson will eventually beat out Simpson, but the veteran has shown enough in his career to hold off Patterson if the rookie doesn't pick up the offense quickly.
Monday, July 29, 2013, 9:02pm
His afternoon ended with a 15-yard TD grab from Matt Cassel during 11-on-11 red zone action. Earlier in the afternoon, Burton hauled in a bomb down the left sideline from Cassel and also capitalized during 7-on-7 work with a precise route up the seam that left the Vikings’ nickel defense addled and resulted in another long score.
Burton will be fighting for a roster spot as the preseason moves on with four other receivers – Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright – all certain to make the team. The former seventh-round pick said Jennings’ arrival has accelerated his development.
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