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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: Jarius Wright’s fall among items of interest from Vikings’ first depth chart

By Judd Zulgad

The Vikings’ first regular-season depth chart has been released and, while it’s labeled as unofficial in capital letters, it is all we have to go on with five days until the regular-season opener in Tennessee.

Here are four interesting items from the depth chart:

Forgotten man: A year ago, Jarius Wright signed a four-year, $14.8 million contract extension that came after he caught a career-high 42 passes for 588 yards and two touchdowns in 2014.

A year later, Wright has gone from being the Vikings’ top slot receiver to looking like almost a sure inactive on Sunday. Wright is so far off the radar that he is one of two members of the Vikings’ offense listed as “other.” The other player given that designation is rookie tight end David Morgan, a sixth-round pick who likely won’t play this season unless there are injuries.

Wright is listed behind Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and even Cordarrelle Patterson. Think about that for a moment. Wright is behind a guy whose only contribution is likely to be as a kick returner.

Thielen had a very good preseason, catching five passes of 83 yards, while Wright had four receptions for 61 yards. But three of Wright’s catches came in the preseason finale against the Rams, when many regulars did not play.

Wright missed time in training camp because of a hamstring injury, and it became clear he had tumbled down the depth chart when he did not play with members of the first team in the third exhibition.

There was a report that the Vikings had interest in moving Wright just before the cut down to 53 players last Saturday. That did not happen, but if Wright remains buried on the depth chart it will be interesting to see what happens.

King of the Hill: It should come as no surprise that Shaun Hill is listed ahead of the newly acquired Sam Bradford, but that doesn’t mean Bradford won’t start on Sunday against the Titans.

Coach Mike Zimmer has no reason to tip his hand about who will start and the fact is Bradford is being given a crash course in the Vikings offense. Starting Hill on Sunday wouldn’t be the end of the world but the Vikings did not trade a first-round draft pick, as well as a conditional fourth-round selection, to Philadelphia on Saturday for Bradford to stand on the sideline.

If Bradford has a handle on the Vikings’ offense, even if it’s a limited menu of plays, the smart money says he will start in Week 1 and Hill will provide assistance while wearing a baseball cap.

Still the starter: Entering his 11th and what is expected to be his final NFL season, Chad Greenway remains the starter at weak side linebacker. But will that remain the case for the entire season?

The Vikings signed free agent Emmanuel Lamur to a two-year, $5.5 million contract that included $2.45 million in guarantees in March. Lamur began his NFL career in 2012 with the Cincinnati Bengals. His defensive coordinator was Zimmer, who thought enough of Lamur’s talents that he wanted him in Minnesota.

Lamur appears to be Zimmer’s choice to replace Greenway. The question is will that be after this season or will the depth chart flip-flop of the two take place before 2016 comes to its conclusion?

Slow process: The Vikings selected Trae Waynes with the 11th pick in the 2015 draft, hoping the Michigan State cornerback could grab a starting spot as soon as possible.

The issue is that Zimmer runs the Vikings defense and if there is one position that he prides himself on developing it’s the cornerback spots. Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise that Zimmer also brought in veteran Terence Newman last season and started him opposite Xavier Rhodes.

Waynes needed the time to develop and the feeling was that he would challenge Newman for the starting job in 2016. Waynes got plenty of playing time in the preseason but Newman remains the starter.

Newman, who turned 38 years old on Sunday, has long played in Zimmer’s defense and his knowledge of the system is an advantage. At some point, however, Waynes is going to be expected to assume the starting role.

If that doesn’t happen at some point this season, there will be questions asked about whether Waynes was a good investment with such a high draft pick.

The post Zulgad: Jarius Wright’s fall among items of interest from Vikings’ first depth chart appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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