The Minnesota Vikings conducted their fifth practice and third padded practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver Jarius Wright and cornerback Xavier Rhodes have been standing out the most in training camp since the Vikings reported to Mankato last Thursday, according to Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com.
Mike Wobschall says Rhodes, the Vikings 25th overall pick out of Florida State, can be physical in press coverage but also has recovery speed if a receiver gets past him.
“Given how much we’ve complimented the Vikings wide receivers in this space over the past 6 days, it’s notable that Rhodes is the defensive standout,” writes Wobschall. “He was impressive during the offseason program, but the other side to that story was that we had to wait until the real thing in training camp before we could get a true gauge of where Rhodes would begin his career.
“A week into training camp, and things are looking good on Rhodes. He can be physical in press coverage, he has recovery speed in case a receiver gets past him, he reads and reacts well in the run game and in space while dropping into a zone, and he makes plays on the ball with good closing speed and soft hands. Again, there’s a long way to go here at training camp and before games are played, but so far, so good on the 1st-round rookie CB.”
As for the offensive side of the ball, Wobschall says Wright rarely drops the ball and can be a versatile option for quarterback Christian Ponder.
“Wright came on strong at the end of last season, playing well for the Vikings when Percy Harvin went down and the team surged to the playoffs in the second half of the season,” Wobschall writes. “Now, Wright is continuing that in training camp and looks poised to play that well – or even better – for the entire 2013 season.
“Wright is diminutive, but he’s also fast enough and physical enough to play on the outside if needed. The Vikings can also get Wright the ball quickly while in space, similar to what they did with Harvin many times. Rarely does Wright drop the ball, and frequently he’s making catches that should be batted down as incomplete. Wright has also been one of the better looking players taking reps at punt return.”