The most veteran receiver in last year’s position group was frustrated with his lack of use.
“I can’t go through a season like I went through this year. That’s just the honest truth,” Wright told Viking Update after the 2016 season ended. “Just a little bit too late in my career, I feel, for me to be riding the bench when I feel like I can play.”
Wright has proven he can play.
Last year he caught only 11 passes, but he had been averaging 34 catches for 488 yards over the last three years as he was active for every game during that time span.
Wright’s role was in limbo for much of last year because the whole receiving corps was an uncertain combination of talents. Charles Johnson entered the season as a starter but his role was eventually reduced as Adam Thielen emerged. Then Cordarrelle Patterson became more involved, and the Vikings wanted to develop then-rookie Laquon Treadwell.
This year, Patterson and Johnson left in free agency, but the Vikings signed veteran free agent Michael Floyd and drafted two more receivers.
“I don’t care about that. I’m going to be the same guy,” Wright said on Wednesday. “You can bring in a thousand receivers and Jarius Wright won’t change. That’s just my mindset. I’m going to go out and be me every day. I’m a playmaker so I’m going to make plays.”
“A big-bodied receiver who can catch the ball and he’s not a slow guy at all,” Wright said of Floyd. “He brings another speed aspect to the game. It’s been fun working with him so far.”
In his first week with the team, Floyd has impressed, but he admitted he is on a “last-straw” chance with the Vikings after being arrested for DUI in Arizona in December and being released by the Cardinals.
Still, he said he has been welcomed by his new teammates.
“A lot of guys, you know, you come on a new team and you feel like that random rookie,” Floyd said. “But I think I know a lot of guys enough on this team that they’ve welcomed me in with excitement and joy.”
Wright and Floyd both have five years in the NFL. Thielen has three. The rest of the receivers are still on their rookie contract.
Because of that, Floyd believes he can offer some on-field leadership.
“This is my first time being the older guy in my position room,” Floyd said. “Just teaching guys, from Treadwell and all the younger guys, we sit down and talk about certain routes and stuff like that and just nit-pick on everyone’s game and just try to feed off of that.”