Jarius Wright

Rookies competing for Vikings punt return job

Four players are reportedly in the mix to win the Minnesota Vikings punt return job, including rookies Jarius Wright and Josh Robinson.

Vikings special teams coach Miek Priefer offered this insight into where each players stands:

The guy I’m most comfortable with would be Marcus [Sherels], because he’s done it before and he’s very sure-handed. Josh has got some juice to him, as you’ve seen on defense as well. [Bryan] Walters has been there before, and Jarius is kind of in the developmental stage right now, to be honest with you.”

Considering the Vikings aren’t likely to compete this year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them test multiple players in this role during the regular season until they find their long-term guy.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Rookie Notes Leave a comment

Vikings coaches impressed with Jarius Wright

Minnesota Vikings 4th-round pick Jarius Wright has impressed coaches with his football knowledge, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Receivers coach George Stewart stated that Wright’s route-running is still a work in progress, but he caught the attention of coaches with his ability to absorb the playbook and understand their various formations.

This is an encouraging sign for Wright, who many believed was a one-dimensional receiver and could do little except stretch the field. Wright’s speed will certainly be an asset, but it sounds as though he is putting in the time and effort to develop into a more well-rounded receiver.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Rookie Notes, Vikings Leave a comment

Draft Grades: Minnesota Vikings

When reports surfaced that the Minnesota Vikings were interested in Morris Claiborne with the 3rd pick, I was worried about the future of the franchise. Fortunately for Vikings fans, Rick Spielman got it right, and put together a reasonably solid draft class.

Matt Kalil was absolutely the right choice, and the fact that they picked up some extra draft picks from Cleveland was just icing on the cake. He’ll anchor their offensive line for the next decade, hopefully protecting Christian Ponder’s blind side.

I hate when rebuilding teams trade up in the draft, and the issue is compounded when they then reach for a specific position of need, which is exactly what the Vikings did by moving up to select Harrison Smith. I like Smith, but he’s not a 1st-round talent. He has the ability to start, but he won’t be a difference maker at the next level. I think Smith needs to play strong safety to be effective, but it sounds like the Vikings will be using him at free safety.

Josh Robinson was nice pick in the 3rd round and should compete for a starting job immediatelly. His impressive showing at the combine made him slightly overrated, but his speed should allow him to be a valuable cover corner against some of the league’s faster receivers. He’s a solid second option at cornerback.

I like the selection of Jarius Wright in the 4th round. He was one of the best deep threats still on the board and should be able to contribute in that capacity from day one.

Rhett Ellison is a fullback/tight end ‘tweener but I’m not sure how he fits in Minnesota. The Vikings already have Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson at tight end and recently signed fullback Jerome Felton. Ellison may have to fight just to stay on the roster.

Greg Childs was a great sleeper pickup in the late 4th round. If healthy, he could have been a 2nd-round selection, but injuries concerns caused him to plummet down draft boards. He has more upside than Wright, but is definitely a bigger risk.

Robert Blanton played cornerback at Notre Dame but is simply too slow to play the position at the next level, and may even be too slow to play safety. But he’ll be given an opportunity to win the starting strong safety job, and may actually be the favorite heading into camp.

Blair Walsh is a talented kicker but is coming off a terrible season. There was no reason his name should have been called before the late 7th round at the earliest. I don’t like his chances of beating out Ryan Longwell for the starting job, but he could catch on elsewhere if he can put his 2011 season behind him.

Audie Cole was a great 7th-round pick. He has the ability to provide some depth at inside or weak-side linebacker and I like his chances of making the final roster cuts.

Trevor Guyton may have been my favorite 7th-round pick of the draft. I had a late 4th-round grade on Guyton and I think he could be a quality backup at right defensive end or as a three-technique tackle. He has a potential to be one of the better steals of the draft.

While I don’t agree with every move the Vikings made, this was still a solid draft class. Rick Spielman did a nice job finding good value at all points of the draft and may have come away with at least three immediate starters (Kalil, Smith, Blanton).

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Vikings 3 Comments

Jarius Wright scouting report

Jarius Wright WR Arkansas #4
Ht: 5’10”

Wt: 176

Elite speed and quickness. Elusive in the open field. Runs crisp routes. A legitimate deep threat. Looks comfortable working the sideline. Does a great job adjusting on broken plays and coming back to the quarterback.  Does a nice job adjusting to poorly thrown balls. Impressive leaping ability allows him to be more effective in traffic down field than your typical undersized receiver. Seems to have strong awareness on the field; does a nice job finding soft spots in zone coverage. Experience lining up in the slot and out wide.
Has a tendency to catch with his body. Undersized; not a threat to break any tackles once he’s wrapped up. Limited effectiveness inside the red zone. Can be pushed around at the line of scrimmage. Missed time in 2011 with a knee injury.
Wright is an explosive receiver with the speed and athleticism to stretch the field, or be an effective slot receiver on underneath routes. He does struggle to get off the line of scrimmage at times when matched up with more physical cornerbacks, but if he’s used in the slot this shouldn’t be a serious concern as he won’t see many nickel corners with the size to shut him down. He may lack the skills of a No. 1, but he can be a great complimentary piece in the right offense.
2011 vs Texas A&M
2011 vs Mississippi State
2011 vs Vanderbilt 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Leave a comment