The Vikings have got a lot of playing time out of the 2012 draft. Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith are full-time starters. Josh Robinson has seen plenty of playing time. Blair Walsh has changed how the Vikings approach special teams. Rhett Ellison and Robert Blanton have become role players of note. Now it's time for another member of the Class of 2012 to step up.
With Percy Harvin on crutches and a self-proclaimed "long shot" to play Sunday against Detroit, it may be the coming-out party for Vikings fourth-round rookie wide receiver Jarius Wright, who has waited half a season to make his NFL debut.
Wright, who was one of two University of Arkansas wide receivers drafted by the Vikings, has yet to make an impact on the roster. College teammate Greg Childs and Wright were both expected to be contributors to the Vikings offense, but neither has played a down for the team. Childs tore both patellar tendons in his knees in a freak injury at the team's passing scrimmage at training camp. Wright, who projects as a slot receiver and primary backup to Harvin, has been inactive for each of the team's first nine games. Expect that to change Sunday.
Wright had a couple of electric moments in the preseason, including a 59-yard touchdown reception, but because of Harvin's expansive role in the Vikings offense, Wright has been the wide receiver made inactive for the first nine games.
The Vikings can't complain about their 2012 draft class. Kalil, Smith and Walsh have more than lived up to expectations, and Robinson and Ellison have made significant contributions. Now it's likely going to be Wright's turn. With the Vikings heading into their bye week following Sunday's game, it's unlikely they will risk any potential aggravation of Harvin's injury when he can get between two and three weeks to heal up for the brutal final stretch run.
The phrase "next man up" is likely to be heard in the coming days and, with Harvin expected to miss Sunday's game, that next man up should be Wright.
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.
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