For WR Wright, it’s rest then workouts

WR Jarius Wright continued to improve his stats for the third straight season, despite a back injury. What’s next for him?

Jarius Wright won’t need surgery for the lower back injury he suffered in Week 16, but he will be resting it before starting up his offseason conditioning.

Wright took a shot to his lower back after a pass sailed over his head and out of bounds while playing against the Miami Dolphins in Week 16. Safety Jimmy Wilson delivered a forearm blow to the back of Wright after a pass deflected off Adam Thielen’s hands and out of bounds in the area of where Wright was standing.

Wright said he will only require rest and stretching for his back, not surgery (running back Jerick McKinnon had surgery in December after his suffered a lower back).

“Rest right now,” Wright said when asked about his offseason plans. “First things first: a lot of rest and a lot of conditioning. Even though I will be resting, when I get healthy I will definitely be conditioning some.”

Wright played the next week in the season finale against the Chicago Bears but left the game early, playing only eight snaps.

Despite Wright being the third receiver for the Vikings, he registered two of the three 100-yard receiving games for the team.

Of course, Wright’s biggest game of the season came in a Week 14 win against the New York Jets. He had more targets (10), catches (8) and yards (132) in a Week 4 win against the Atlanta Falcons. But his biggest play of the season was an 87-yard touchdown about 4½ minutes into overtime that started with a pass at the line of scrimmage. He picked up good downfield blocking, leading to Wright’s game-winning run into the end zone.

“That is my most memorable moment just because it was such a big play and such a critical time of the game,” Wright said.

Although Wright was used as the No. 3 receiver throughout the season – he played in 50 percent of the snaps on the season – he finished second in both receptions (42) and receiving yards (588) among the receiver corps. It continued his career ascent. As a rookie, he had 22 catches for 310 yards, and last year he caught 26 passes for 434 yards.

“I’m kind of pleased, but at the same time I know I can do more,” Wright said. “Next year is just up to me to come out and start earlier this year instead of so late in the season.

“I feel as long as I can keep getting better each and every year that I’ll be where I want to be in a couple years.”

Wright is entering a contract year in 2015, as his rookie contract is set to expire after his fourth season in the NFL.

He ended 2014 with a back that was “a little sore,” but he plans to make the trip to work with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in Miami in the coming months.

“I definitely plan on making the trip out to Miami,” he said. “I know I’m going to give my body a little time to rest and I’m sure he’ll do the same and we’ll get together and definitely work on some of our timing.”

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