The biggest issue for wide receiver Jarius Wright Saturday wasn't whether he was going to get drafted. That was a given. The question was whether he would be able to get the call from the Vikings.
Wright was at his home in Warren, Ark., population 6,000, and was having problems with his phone dropping calls.
"It was a big crisis going on," he said.
There hasn't been much that has gone wrong for Wright (phone issues aside). In four years with the Razorbacks, he set the all-time career records for receptions (168) and yardage (2,934) and in 2011, set the single-season record for catches (66), yards (1,117) and touchdowns (12). He was one of the most notorious big-play threats in the SEC, averaging 17.5 yards per reception in his college career.
In many ways, he is reminiscent of Percy Harvin. At 5-9, 182 pounds, he seems ideally suited as a slot receiver, where his sub-4.4 speed can create coverage mismatches. However, he was used all over the field in the wide open Arkansas offense and believes he can play in the slot or outside the hashes.
"I'm pretty comfortable playing either/or," Wright said. "Being at Arkansas, I've had the chance to move around and play a lot of different positions. I think I'm pretty comfortable playing inside and outside. I would say I'm most effective inside just to get the matchup with my speed against linebackers or the third corner."
Wright said one of the most exciting aspects of coming to the Vikings is to be a teammate of Harvin, who was tearing up the SEC when Wright began his college career.
"Percy Harvin has always been one of my favorite receivers and one of the guys I looked up to in my career," Wright said. "I definitely see some similarities in the way we play and what we bring to the game."
As for how the Vikings will use Wright will be determined over the next few months, but, given his unique skill set as a special-teams ace, return man and receiver, he said he's open to whatever role the Vikings deem appropriate for him.
"I think I can fit anywhere," Wright said. "As a special team guy, punt returning, kick returning and also as a receiver playing inside or outside. I think have the skill set to play both inside or outside."
Wright said he doesn't mind being part of a receiver group in which several players get opportunities. He expects that he and Harvin will share time, but that is nothing new to him. He played with Joe Adams, who was selected earlier in the fourth round by Carolina, as well as Greg Childs, whom the Vikings took 16 picks after Wright.
He knows that he will be viewed as a backup as he starts his career, but his experience playing in a system where several receivers were role players shouldn't be a problem at the next level. He had a 13-catch game against Texas A&M during the 2011 matchup.
"It was more of getting the ball to whoever was hot that game," Wright said. "They did a good job of getting the ball to the hot hand, whoever was having the better game. Me and Joe, we weren't selfish guys. I don't think me and Percy will be selfish guys. I'm sure we'll be really good team players and whoever has the game, whether it's me, Percy or any of the other receivers, we'll be happy about it."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
WR Wright sees Harvin comparisons
Viking Update Top Stories
Do-or-die time for VikingsIt has taken a lot of losing to acknowledge, but Minnesota Vikings players are finally admitting their margin for error is gone.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 9:06 AM
Fan forum: Evaluating the front officeAs injuries pile up and the Minnesota Vikings are making their mark, positive and negative, we wondered what fans attending a recent Vikings game thought of the performance of the…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 6:22 AM
Defense mostly overrode Locke’s strugglesJeff Locke had his worst game of the season against the team with the NFL’s best record, but the Minnesota Vikings defense did what it could to overcome it.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 5:54 AM
Cowboys blitzed and bruised BradfordThe Minnesota Vikings wanted to take their shots deep and did. But Sam Bradford also took his shots to the body from a blitz-heavy Cowboys defense. The numbers and reaction inside.
Viking UpdateFriday at 1:15 PM
Vikings-Cowboys most-watched TNF game everThe Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys game was the most-watched Thursday Night Football game ever.
Viking UpdateFriday at 12:49 PM