Adrian Peterson, Jarius Wright help keep Vikings alive in NFC playoff race

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

After opening up the season with a 4-1 record, the Minnesota Vikings had lost three of their last four games entering Sunday's game against the NFC North rival Detroit Lions. Playing without an injured Percy Harvin, the Vikings got 171 rushing yards from running back Adrian Peterson and two big plays from rookie wide receiver Jarius Wright to end their two-game losing streak with a 34-17 win over the Lions.

Peterson now has 1,128 rushing yards on the season, which is truly remarkable considering how he's still less than a year removed from major knee surgery. Peterson sealed the game with a 61-yard touchdown run with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation. Peterson now has 11 games of 150+ rushing yards, the most among any active NFL player.

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While Peterson sealing the game comes as no surprise, an unlikely source got the Vikings off to an early lead they would not relinquish.

In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Vikings used the 118th overall pick on Jarius Wright, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound wide receiver from the University of Arkansas. The last time Wright saw the field was in the Vikings' preseason finale, in which he caught six passes for 122 yards and a 59-yard touchdown. After that, Wright has been modeling Nike and New Era sideline apparel, unable to crack the Vikings' 46-man gameday roster.

With Harvin inactive, Wright's number was called and he paid immediate dividends. Wright drifted behind the Lions safeties to haul in a 54-yard pass from Christian Ponder while falling on his back to set the Vikings up with a first-and-goal from the Lions' 1-yard line. Following a false start by tight end Kyle Rudolph and a three-yard run by Adrian Peterson, Wright caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Ponder to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

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Last month, Wright told Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press that he felt he was getting close to contributing on Sundays.

"I'm 85 to 90 percent a different player since the beginning of the season. Seeing defenses and seeing the way guys move definitely has helped me get more comfortable, even though it is from the sideline.

"I just wake up each Sunday morning and hope I'm active. My day is coming. I really believe that. I'm going to wait patiently."

Wright finished Sunday with three receptions for 65 yards along with one carry for three rushing yards. More importantly, he may have earned more opportunities to play once Harvin returns from his ankle injury.

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