Jarius Wright (Brace Hemmelgarn/US Presswire)
Jarius Wright was instrumental in the Vikings’ hot start Sunday, but Leslie Frazier said Wright will be “week-to-week” when it comes to the game-day inactive list.
Following Sunday’s win over Detroit, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder made it clear that he thought the wait was over for Jarius Wright. After his big plays that helped get the Vikings off to a strong start in the Metrodome, it seemed that Wright, who had been inactive for each of the first nine games, was going to be on the game day roster the rest of the season.
However, at his Monday press conference, head coach Leslie Frazier wasn’t as definitive about that plan, saying that, when Percy Harvin returns from his ankle injury, Wright will be back into his week-to-week status whether he will be active or inactive.
“There will always be week-to-week with some guys and it probably won’t be any different with Jarius,” Frazier said. “We’ll take a look at him every week and determine if this is the week he’s going to be up, but he definitely did some things to warrant us considering him every week going forward.”
Wright said he doesn’t see any reason why it would have to be an either-or scenario between him and Harvin playing at the same time. As he sees it, every team needs as many playmakers as it can have – even if they have similar skill sets.
“There is definitely room for me and Percy on the field at the same time,” Wright said. “I’m sure in the future you might get a chance to see some of that. Me and Percy do bring similar styles of game to the field. But, at the same time, who’s complaining about what me or Percy brings to the game?”
Frazier seemed to be of the same belief system. While it would have to come at the expense of someone like Devin Aromashodu or Stephen Burton, Wright may find his way on the field if the numbers game works out against a specific opponent.
“If you believe a guy can really help you get it done, you’ll figure out a way to make that work numbers-wise,” Frazier said. “It does mean that you’ll have to put someone else down if you dress five wide receivers, but there are ways we can get that done if we want both of them on the field.”
Whether Wright’s contribution will continue will depend in large part how the Vikings offensive coaching staff draws up weekly game plans. But Wright said he is willing to do what is needed to make sure he stays on the field – whether as a slot receiving or playing on the outside.
“I’ve taken a lot more reps inside,” Wright said. “But, at the same time, I think it’s because they know I can play that outside position already if they need me. So they want to get me ready for the inside, where all the physical linebackers and safeties are.”
It looks as though the Vikings knew what they were doing when they made their decision on signing a defensive end to a long-term contract. At the end of the 2010 season, the Vikings were faced with a dilemma as to whether to give DE Ray Edwards a long-term contract. They inked a long-term deal, but it was with Brian Robison, which didn’t sit well at all with Edwards. When the lockout ended, he signed a five-year, $30 million contract with Atlanta. After putting up 16.5 sacks in his previous two seasons in Minnesota, Edwards recorded just 3.5 sacks with the Falcons last year. This season, his drop-off in production was even worse – he had just nine tackles and no sacks in nine games. While $11 million of his contract was guaranteed and he will walk away with that, the move is viewed as something of a surprise, since he wouldn’t have cost the Falcons any more than the guaranteed portion of his contract if he remained on the roster the rest of the season.
From the “Oh, Really” Department comes this: Ndamukong Suh was effectively dominated by John Sullivan Sunday. He recorded just one tackle and the Vikings ran all over Detroit’s defense. But at his Monday press conference, Jim Schwartz said it was the best game Suh has had all season. One can only imagine how quiet he’s been in Detroit’s other eight games.
Schwartz also accused the Vikings defense of “headhunting” in Sunday’s game. It seems an odd claim since many consider the Lions defense to be the dirtiest in the NFL with players who take unnecessarily rough shots at opposing offensive players.
It wasn’t only the coach that was making those accusations of dirty play. Cornerback Chris Houston claimed Vikings guard Brandon Fusco intentionally tried to injure him on a running play in which Fusco landed on Houston’s ankle.
It was a bad 24 hours for NFL quarterbacks. In the span of Sunday and Monday, four franchise quarterbacks – Michael Vick, Alex Smith, Jay Cutler and Ben Roethlisberger – all suffered injuries that could keep them out of action, whether for one week or for more.
The Vikings announced Monday that they have hired Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment as the team’s consultant for developing a strategic marketing and revenue plan for the new stadium. In the meantime, Van Wagner will work with the current sales and marketing staff to develop an overall plan for the future, which will include naming rights to the stadium and specific areas in and around the new facility.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.