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Photo: Aj Mansour (KFAN.com)
By: Dan Cole | KFAN.com
Eden Prairie, MN - Day two of Minnesota Vikings OTAs took place on Wednesday at Winter Park as the team moved further into phase three of its offseason schedule.
Of the 12 wide receivers currently listed on the Vikings’ roster, only nine actively participated in team activities on Wednesday, although the other three were present and in uniform.
Among those Vikings wideouts that did participate on Wednesday were Joe Webb, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jerome Simpson, each of whom is expected to contribute to an improved passing game this season.
“These guys come out to work,” said Simpson of the Vikings’ younger receivers. “They’re young, but these guys are hungry. I like the intensity that they have. They listen to us veterans and our coach, too, and they just do it the right way.”
Webb, who is making the full transition from quarterback to wide receiver this season, was a popular topic on Wednesday. He caught two of three passes that were thrown his way during the team’s 11-on-11 simulation, showing some capability already.
Webb hasn’t played many snaps at wide receiver since his college days at UAB, which is why Vikings wide receivers coach George Stewart says he’s being a little more patient with Webb’s progress.
“It’d be unfair to evaluate him as a receiver like I’d evaluate the rest of them, because they’ve been receivers all their lives,” Stewart said. “Joe’s been a quarterback… We will evaluate him differently until he has a chance to get his feet underneath him and has a chance to get better as a receiver.”
Also being evaluated patiently is Patterson, one of the Vikings’ three first round draft picks from April. The former Tennessee wideout is likely going to be used to return kickoffs, as well, said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier.
Patterson set the single season record for all-purpose yards as a Volunteer in 2012. He was seen fielding kicks in practice on Wednesday and caught one of three passes directed at him in 11-on-11 play.
“I like the guy,” Wright said of Patterson. “He can catch the ball, he can run, he has run after the catch and for a bigger guy he has a little wiggle, so I feel like he can definitely help us out a lot.”
Wright, who caught 22 passes for 310 yards in the final seven games of last season, is going to see increased playing time this season following the departure of Percy Harvin to Seattle.
It is likely that the Vikings will use Wright in a lot of specialty plays and in a variety of formations, much as they did Harvin over the past few seasons.
“There’s no really replacing Percy Harvin,” Wright said. “But at the same time I do feel that I can step in and take some of those bubble screens and reverse handoffs out of the backfield… We have a lot of guys to get the ball to, and that’s including a great tight end and great running backs.”
Greg Childs, Greg Jennings and Chris Summers all stood idly nearby during wide receiver activities, talking with coaches and teammates, but not physically participating.
Childs, who sat out all last season after tearing both of his patellar tendons during training camp, is continuing to rehab in hopes of playing this fall. On Wednesday, he started practice with the team but then headed to the locker room following opening stretches. He returned roughly 90 minutes later and watched from the sideline.
Jennings, whom the Vikings brought in via free agency in March to help elevate their passing game, was not on the field until 40 minutes into practice on Wednesday. Like Childs, he was also in uniform, but served merely as a verbal assistance to players and coaches.
Day three of Vikings OTAs is set to take place on Thursday at Winter Park.