Kendall Wright’s roster status more secure considering he leads all Vikings in career receptions
Kendall Wright not Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs nor Kyle Rudolph has the most career receptions on the Vikings roster. The well-traveled veteran is on his fifth or sixth playbook entering his seventh NFL season, and he admitted a prolonged learning process early this offseason before he started to impress offensive coordinator John DeFilippo this month.
First, it was a learning process early in the spring, Wright said. It was a lot of thinking, but once I got that done it was just playing fast; it was easy for me.
While outside speculation often puts Wright on the roster bubble ahead of Saturdays cuts, the reality is hes the Vikings No. 4 receiver.
Wright, whose sophomore NFL effort included 94 catches for 1,079 yards for the Titans in 2013, stepped in when Thielen hobbled off the practice field on Tuesday and ran routes alongside Diggs and Laquon Treadwell.
Ive told him this, DeFilippo said. I thought when he started out when he got here, he was a little bit slow and I think he was trying to grasp everything. Once he grasped what we were trying to do, I think over training camp and the last few OTAs you really saw his game take off.
Wright, 28, will likely play in Thursday nights preseason finale if only because hes one of six Vikings receivers who isnt either a projected starter or injured.
Siemian looking to rebound
Mike Zimmer said he wants to see 26-year-old backup quarterback Trevor Siemian take charge and look calmer in the pocket when he starts Thursdays preseason finale in Tennessee. While Siemian, a former starting quarterback in Denver, is entrenched as the Vikings No. 2, hes also looking to put out a better showing. He completed 4 of 8 passes for three yards and took three sacks against Seattle.
Experience is definitely good to have, and you fall back on it at times, Siemian said. But I still feel relatively young and Im learning a bunch.
Ahead of Saturdays roster cuts down to 53 players, the Vikings have a sense of which of the players they cut are most likely to be swiped off waivers by another team and, in turn, not stay on their practice squad. But there are a few surprises every year, Zimmer said, when a player he thought hed be able to keep gets claimed by another team.
Every year, probably two or three guys [surprise me], Zimmer said. People have needs in certain places. You kind of get a feel, honestly, from around the league for the most part on what positions arent as strong as other positions. Those guys might get poached a little more.
Hughes, Waynes return
Cornerbacks Mike Hughes and Trae Waynes returned to practice Tuesday. Hughes had been held out since the Aug. 18 exhibition against Jacksonville with an undisclosed injury, and is still unlikely to play in Thursdays preseason finale. Waynes only missed Mondays practice and will also likely sit with the other starters.
Thielen appeared to injure his left leg in practice and walked off with a noticeable limp.
Nine Vikings didnt practice Tuesday and are unlikely to play in Tennessee: receivers Chad Beebe, Stacy Coley and Tarvarres King, cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander (ankle) and Marcus Sherels (hamstring), linebacker Devante Downs (foot), guard Josh Andrews and safeties Jack Tocho and Tray Matthews.
Look for guard Danny Isidora and newcomer Brett Jones to snap the ball against the Titans. Both took 11-on-11 reps with Siemian during Tuesdays practice. The initial O-line with Siemian featured, from left to right, Aviante Collins, Jones, Isidora, Colby Gossett and Brian ONeill.
Kicker Daniel Carlson converted all five field goal attempts during Tuesdays practice, including a couple from 42 yards away the distance he missed twice from against Seattle.