Despite concussion, Jarius Wright will be backup return man
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings receiver Jarius Wright never fielded a kickoff or punt return in the preseason.
Wright's few opportunities in the first two preseason games, all on punt return, were squandered by either penalties or touchbacks and when he was blindsided on a catch in the first half at the Buffalo Bills, a concussion blew away the rest of his chances to show his worth as a return man.
"I feel like I did have some opportunities taken away due to injury," Wright said. "Even in that Bills game, I would've had a chance to return some in the second half."
His receiver skills withstanding, Wright sat the remainder of the preseason and made the 53-man roster as their slot receiver. However, the Vikings tried out receiver Stephen Burton and cornerback Bobby Felder as their other main return men. Burton was ultimately cut and Felder placed on IR for a high ankle sprain.
Wright's repetitions have mainly come in practice, but he will be the Vikings designated backup return man should cornerback Marcus Sherels (PR) or receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (KR) not be able to field kicks.
"Unfortunately I went down and missed a couple of opportunities," Wright said. "But when you play football, you know what you're getting into. You can't play scared. If you play scared and timid, that leads to more injuries."
Wright, 23, said his concussion was 'basically' the first one in his career. He passed all stages of the NFL's concussion protocol and could've played in the preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 29, but nearly every contributor was benched anyway.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer tried out cornerback A.J. Jefferson at returner as well, but said he will go with Wright as his backup.