Jarius Wright has been a mystery man for the most part this season. Why can’t the Vikings’ fourth-round draft pick get on the field? Certainly a team with as many offensive issues as the Vikes could use a receiver with Wright’s speed even if he lacks the length to be a classic outside threat. There must be some reason they drafted him. They must’ve had some plan for how to use him with Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson and their other weapons.
So what gives? Well it appears Jarius Wright’s biggest problem is Jarius Wright. Nothing concrete has really ever been reported but there have been whispers. Bad practice habits. Not picking up the offense fast enough. There was one report of him sitting all sulky with his headphones on during team warm-ups before a game. Not exactly the behavior you want to see from an alleged professional.
Long story short, Wright has been listed as inactive every week this season, even after his preseason ankle issues cleared up. This has only served to increase the sense of intrigue around the rookie. We know he has talent. He made a couple difficult catches during the preseason. He showed raw speed on a couple of deep routes. But when will we get to see those skills on the field in a real game? Can Jarius Wright make a difference?
I don’t know if he can make a difference. But I do know you’ve got nothing to lose by throwing him out there, bad practice habits or not, and just seeing. At the very least, why not line Wright up outside and let him run a go route? He’s not the kind of guy who’s going to out-jump anyone but he can certainly outrun a lot of defensive backs. Maybe you get lucky and he just flat-out burns someone. Even if you only get one shot with him per game, that’s still more than you’re getting from guys like Stephen Burton (yeah I know, blocking skills) or Devin Aromashodu.
The Vikes need to find something to mix it up in the passing game. They’re not going to get much more from Percy Harvin than they’ve been getting, especially with defenses now rolling all their coverage to him. And Jerome Simpson frankly doesn’t look like he’s much of an answer either. Talent-wise, Wright is the only other guy on your roster with anything intriguing to add.
I know the coaches think they have good reasons for holding him out this long, but eventually you just have to throw him out there and see what he can add. Sometimes guys play a lot better than they practice. Remember Percy Harvin? He didn’t used to practice at all and still killed it on game day. Not saying Wright is Percy Harvin of course. Just saying, with the season going the way it’s going, and the receiver corps looking seriously under-manned, why not give Jarius his chance? Mix him into one stinking package. Maybe he’ll surprise you.
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