With $84 million devoted to Kirk Cousins — and now reportedly $11 million committed to Sheldon Richardson — the Minnesota Vikings released six-year veteran receiver Jarius Wright, saving $2.64 million in cap space, according to Spotrac.
Wright had been under contract through 2019 after signing an extension in 2015.
NFL insider Adam Caplan tweeted that the Vikings may attempt to bring Wright back at a lower cap number, considering they have very little depth beyond their clear-cut top two receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.
A former fourth-round pick out of Arkansas, Wright became a reliable option in the passing game during his half-dozen years in purple, particularly in clutch situations, making 47 first-down receptions on third downs in his career.
If it is the end for Wright in Minnesota, he will best be remembered for his 2012 debut, in which he caught a Christian Ponder bomb and subsequent touchdown pass on his first-ever drive, as well as a walk-off overtime touchdown in 2014 against the New York Jets.
Wright’s absence would leave an opportunity for somebody to step up at the wide receiver position.
Laquon Treadwell is coming off an unsatisfying first two seasons after being taken in the first round of the 2016 draft, and head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t mince words about the third-year wideout at the NFL Combine, saying he needed to “get out of his own way.”
Stacy Coley was a seventh-round pick in the 2017 draft who didn’t have a catch last year, but Zimmer told reporters last season he believes Coley will “be a player.”
Beyond that, the Vikings only have contracts with Cayleb Jones, who showed potential during Minnesota’s training camp last season, and Brandon Zylstra, a former CFL All-Star.
The draft may have to be the Vikings’ source to find receiver depth. If Wright (fourth-round pick), Diggs (fifth round) or Thielen (undrafted) are any example, there should be plenty of cheap talent available in the middle-to-late rounds.