With Vikings WR Jerome Simpson out for the first three games, what happens to the Vikings' three-receiver sets?
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.