Found November 11, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS Quarterback Christian Ponder was struggling and the Minnesota Vikings were going into Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions without league leading receiver Percy Harvin. Enter little-known fourth-round draft pick Jarius Wright. Previously compared to Harvin because of their similar stature and speed, Wright stepped in and helped fill Harvin's role, providing the big play Minnesota's offense has been seeking most of the year in Sunday's 30-20 win against Detroit. On the fifth offensive play for the Vikings, Ponder stepped up in the pocket with plenty of time and found Wright streaking down the field for a 54-yard reception, the longest catch of the season for any Minnesota receiver. Two plays later, Ponder found Wright for his first NFL touchdown to put the Vikings up 7-0. "I'm not going to lie, I think I enjoyed catching that long pass more (than the touchdown) because it kind of got the team going early," Wright said. "Of course, the TD does too, but I think the long pass got us going early. I know it got the fans going early too." Wright was the team's first of three fourth-round draft picks in April out of Arkansas, where he set several school records. But after a breakout performance in the final preseason game, Wright was waiting for his turn to be active in a regular season contest. He suffered a badly sprained ankle in that final preseason game which caused him to miss time and coaches have been keeping an eye on him and trying to decide when he'd be ready to be active for a game. Without Harvin, Sunday provided the opportunity. "It's been hard," Wright said. "It would be hard on anybody that liked to play the game of football and wanted to get out here and help their team. Not saying I hadn't been helping at practice and everything, but just the opportunity to get out there and help your team on Sunday, I got that chance today and just tried to make the most of it." His big catch helped Ponder settled into an early groove, but it was Wright that might have been more relieved with the reception. "He actually, I think it was Friday, he dropped that in practice and he was really down thinking that we might not call it in the game," coach Leslie Frazier said. "We all had confidence that he would make that play and Christian delivered a great throw and he did a great job of catching it." Frazier said he felt Friday it was unlikely that Harvin was going to make from his sprained ankle in time to play this week, but he wanted to give him a chance to see if the injury improved by Saturday. Frazier said he expects Harvin back for the road game at Chicago following next week's bye. No loafing: Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams made comments this week that he thought the team had suffered some "loafs" during last week's loss at Seattle and the defensive players took issue with the public statements. "I think a lot of us were upset with that because we didn't see the loafs," defensive end Brian Robison said. "And, you know, I think we've all kind of shown our frustrations with him a little bit about that comment because bottom line for us is, we were playing hard, we were playing physical, we were playing fast. Bottom line was, we were just missing tackles and not making the plays we needed to make. To me, it came down to not executing and missing tackles. So, for him to call us out on loafs, that pissed off a lot of people. Bottom line is, we came out today and gave him what he wanted." Minnesota's defense responded, holding Detroit to 60 yards rushing and 1 of 9 on third downs. Much of the Lions' 308 yards passing came in the fourth quarter after the Vikings had established a lead and were able to keep the lead with the running of Adrian Peterson. Robison said the players' made Williams aware they were displeased with the earlier comments. "I think I made a few comments about it, a little smart-butt comments to him and stuff like that," Robison said. "That's the thing with our team. We're so competitive that if he says things to us, it kind of ticks us off and we want to play better for him. At the same time, we might say some things to him and it might tick him off. So, it's a love-hate relationship." Greenway makes a splash: Linebacker Chad Greenway held on for his first interception since Jan. 3, 2010, coming up with the type of "splash" play that had been missing from the Pro Bowl linebacker. Greenway is annually one of the team's tackling leaders, but he had gone two-plus seasons without an interception. Minnesota had two takeaways Sunday and didn't have a turnover. "I think it was tipped because it was wobbling when it got to me, so maybe his arm was hit or something," Greenway said. "But I don't give a (expletive). "Felt good. Honestly, I've been in positions to make plays and dropped the ball. As a player I put a lot of pressure on myself to go make those plays, that's what I get paid to. I'm so happy, you guys have no idea. I hope they come in bunches now." A good feeling heading into the bye: Minnesota snapped consecutive losses and losses in three of the past four games and entering next week's bye with some positivity and a clear shot at staying in the playoff picture thanks to the win. The Vikings (6-4) still have four games remaining in the NFC North, with the home and road contests still remaining against the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. But they can take solace in heading into the break on a win and feeling good. "It's huge," Robison said. "If we would have lost today it's one of those things where you have to dwell on it for two weeks. You never want to do that. For us, it's about getting away, being able to actually relax, rest and not have to worry about things. We're sitting at 6-4. We're in a good position. Hopefully we can go at least 4-2 in these last weeks be 10-6 and get into the playoffs." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder thanks ESPN’s Samantha Steel for win over Lions

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder thanked girlfriend and ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Steel for helping his team beat the Detroit Lions, 34-24. Here’s his tweet following the game:

No game-day guarantees for Jarius Wright

Jarius Wright was instrumental in the Vikings’ hot start Sunday, but Leslie Frazier said Wright will be “week-to-week” when it comes to the game-day inactive list.

Vikings Injury Report: Percy Harvin Out Against Lions

Percy Harvin has been listed as doubtful for today's game with a severely sprained ankle.  He missed practice all week and has not looked ready to go.  Now, it has all but been confirmed.  Percy Harvin will not play against the Detroit Lions today. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Harvin's injury will not allow him to play today.  He had not been ruled out earlier...

NFL Rumors: Percy Harvin Ruled Out For Minnesota Vikings Game Against Detroit Lions

The Minnesota Vikings will have to play the Detroit Lions without Percy Harvin today, as the NFL Network’s Ian Rap0port is reporting that Harvin will miss this week’s game after spraining his ankle during last week’s loss against the Seattle Seahawks. Harvin is clearly one of the only explosive options for the Vikings, so this loss will certainly hurt their already diminishing...

Percy Harvin Officially Out For Week 10

Can’t give it a go Juan… It looked bleak and I never even thought about ranking Harvin this week as he called himself a ‘longshot’ to play this week.  Adam Shefter just reported what we thought initially earlier in the week. Schefter Tweeted: Viking wide receiver Percy Harvin will not play Sunday vs. Detroit due to his ankle injury. This is probably the best move for Harvin...

Christian Ponder Fires 2 TDs vs. Lions

Playing without top receiver Percy Harvin, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder still put together his finest effort in weeks, throwing for 221 yards and two scores Sunday against the Lions.Fantasy Spin:Ponder hit rookie Jarius Wright, active for the first time this season, and tight end Kyle Rudolph for touchdowns. The sophomore QB came in having thrown for less than 100 yards in...

Vikings' Harvin out vs. Lions

Wide receiver Percy Harvin is inactive for the Minnesota Vikings' game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, according to NFL.com. Harvin had been listed as doubtful with a left ankle injury suffered in last week's loss at the Seattle Seahawks, but head coach Leslie Frazier had held out hope that the team's leading receiver might be able to play against the Lions. ...

Harvin leads Vikings’ inactive list

Vikings WR Percy Harvin is inactive with a sprained ankle, the first time he has missed a game for anything other than migraines. Vikings receiver Percy Harvin is not active, as expected, after suffering a sprained left ankle last Sunday.

Harvin inactive for Vikings against Lions

Minnesota Vikings star receiver Percy Harvin is inactive for the game against the Detroit Lions with a sprained left ankle. For the Lions, star receiver Calvin Johnson (knee) and defensive end Cliff Avril (back) are active after being listed as questionable. Harvin was listed as doubtful for the game Friday and coach Leslie Frazier said he would have had to make significant improvement...

Percy Harvin Ruled Out For Week 10

Vikings receiver Percy Harvin has been ruled out for Week 10 due to an ankle injury. SOURCE: Adam Schefter, ESPNFantasy Spin:Like Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez, Harvin was supposed to be a game-time call Sunday but he was ruled out Saturday instead. That should save fantasy owners from having to make a tough last-second roster decision while also providing more time to find an alternative.

PJD's Game Ten Recap: Lions Lose King of Jungle Crown

Detroit Brought Lions, I Brought Crow: And it's not bad, really. You just have to char it a bit. It's kind of stringy, but that's all. And I'm not eating ALL of the crow, because despite the fact that the Vikings won on Sunday, it doesn't mean that they DOMINATED. All it means is that Purple Jesus saved their ass once again (171 yards and a TD?!), and they got...

Percy Harvin Expected To Return Following Bye

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier expects to have receiver Percy Harvin (ankle) back after the bye week. SOURCE: Tom Pelissero, 1500 ESPN Twin CitiesFantasy Spin:Harvin was inactive Sunday against the Lions with an ankle injury. He'll have two weeks to let his sprained ankle heal.

Win keeps Vikings in playoff picture

MINNEAPOLIS There will be no lingering frustration heading into the bye week for the Minnesota Vikings after Sunday's 34-24 win. Minnesota knew the importance of beating the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Vikings wanted to end their two-game slide and be able to head into the off week with positive feelings. They wanted to put Detroit (4-5) squarely behind them. And after last...

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings: Hero and Zero of the Game

In a pivotal NFC North game, the Minnesota Vikings were able to overcome the powerful offense of the Detroit Lions, going on to win 34-24.  The Vikings snapped their two game losing streak and were able to improve their record to 6-4 as they swept the Lions this year.Although the Vikings as a team played well, Christian Ponder finally had his rebound game, going 24-32 passing for...

Plenty of questions arise after the Lions’ 34-24 loss to the Vikings

Queue up the cynic’s… Same Old’ Lions. Well, we have all waited to find out what the 2012 Detroit Lions are and the verdict is in… The Lions are BAD, 4-5 bad at this point in the season. To have 34 points put up on them with a Christian Ponder quarterbacked team and without one of the league’s most dangerous weapons in Percy Harvin puts up a giant red flag. Oh yeah, the...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.