Monday, December 1, 2014, 1:04pm
The Minnesota Vikings began Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers with the goal of getting Teddy Bridgewater in a rhythm early, and they succeded. Bridgewater hit his first five throws of the day, all on short passes or a screen that Charles Johnson took for 24 yards, and finished the day throwing 15 of his 21 passes less than 10 yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
But the Vikings want to build an offense that can stretch the field, and it was on the two downfield throws Bridgewater made that coach Mike Zimmer saw progress. He put a 45-yard throw just beyond Johnson's reach in the third quarter -- on a play where Johnson wanted interference on Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and Zimmer said he "thought we could have went up and got after a little bit better" -- and came back four plays later with a 35-yard strike to Jarius Wright on third-and-3.
On both plays, Bridgewater passed up shorter options to take shots downfield when his read of the Panthers' coverage told him he could do so. That, Zimmer said, was a sign of maturity.
"It's third-and- and he's throwing the ball 40 yards down the field and puts the ball on [the] money," Zimmer said. "He got the right look. There were a couple times he had the right look defensively and went to the right place even though it wasn't the safest throw. Those kinds of things are the things I'm talking about when I see his progression and he's always getting better."
The story went on to say that Bridgewater has talked about his need to play faster on several occasions this year, and as he said on Sunday, that has more to do with making quicker decisions than it does with the speed of his release. When Bridgewater is able to trust what he's seeing before the snap and know where to go with his first read, he's more confident in his ability to find his receivers downfield. It also doesn't help that WR Cordarrelle Patterson didn't see a lot of playing time, which took away that guy who was supposed to be their biggest threat. The Vikings will have a lot of work to do on the offense before 2015, and the hope is Bridgewater starts to show up on the QB2 fantasy radar by then.
Friday, November 28, 2014, 6:04pm
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Vikings WR Jarius Wright (hamstring, questionable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 12. Wright should play against the Packers, though he’s no sure thing given the questionable tag.
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) missed practice again Thursday. Consider Jennings very iffy to play against his old team. Charles Johnson is on the radar, though Jarius Wright returned to practice on Thursday.
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6:11pm
Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) did not practice Wednesday. Consider Jennings iffy to play against his old team. Charles Johnson is on the radar as a Sneaky Start since Jarius Wright is also gimpy with a hamstring injury.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6:11pm
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.
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