After cutting veteran receiver Jarius Wright two weeks ago, a move made due to concerns over salary-cap space, the Minnesota Vikings replaced one Wright with another on Friday, signing former Bears and Titans wideout Kendall Wright, a league source confirmed to ESPN.
Terms of Wright's contract were not immediately disclosed.
With a savvy, need-fulfilling addition in the second wave of free agency, Minnesota was able to check off another item on its offseason priority list, finding who they believe could fill the No. 3 receiver position behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.
With a select group of reliable veteran receivers still on the market, the Vikings began zeroing in on Wright this week, hosting him on a visit in Eagan on Thursday.
Wright was one of the NFL's most productive slot receivers in 2017, running 290 of his 409 routes out of the slot, where he had 41 of his 59 receptions for 393 yards and a touchdown, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Those 59 catches led Chicago, as did his 614 receiving yards.
The 28-year-old gives the Vikings a middle-of-the-field option and a reliable third-down threat. Jarius Wright's biggest contributions in 2017 came on third-down situations, where he had 10 of his 18 receptions. Kendall Wright did most of his damage under similar circumstances, averaging 10.76 yards per catch on third down for 226 yards and a touchdown. He had only three drops in 2017 and his 80.4 catch rate out of the slot was the best in the NFL.
Despite a limited amount of snaps in Chicago -- something that began during his later years in Tennessee, in part due to injuries -- Wright made the most of his opportunities when targeted, fooling defenders with his deceptively quick speed and shifty route-running ability.
One area in which he provides a bump for Minnesota is potential for yards after the catch. Wright isn't going to muscle his way through press coverage or magically become a deep-ball threat (his longest reception was 22 yards last season), but the success he had connecting with Mitchell Trubisky on shorter routes allowed him to pick up his 192 YAC. With Kirk Cousins' ball placement, Wright should be able to see that number jump considerably in Minnesota.
He's a slot receiver by build and skill set, but given the way the Vikings moved Thielen and Diggs around last year and the potential for more movement of these chess pieces in John DeFilippo's offense, Wright could find himself lined up outside in certain situations. As difficult as it was for teams to game plan for the Vikings' top receiving duo last year, things may get trickier for the opposition when Minnesota's No. 3 receiver can make plays down the line or in situations where the middle the field is left wide open.
Could Kendall Wright be to Cousins in Minnesota what Jamison Crowder was to the 29-year-old quarterback in Washington? Crowder became one of Cousins' most trusted targets during the latter portion of the 2017 season, largely due to an injury-depleted roster at the receiver position. Cousins targeted Crowder 103 times; the slot receiver turned 66 receptions into 789 yards and three touchdowns.
In DeFilippo's offense, there's no such thing as too many playmakers. The Vikings added another with Wright and shored up the receiver room even further. Minnesota's next need will be finding a joker or "move" tight end to complement Kyle Rudolph in the passing game. For now, it'll be up to Minnesota's remaining crop of receiver talent -- Laquon Treadwell, Stacy Coley, Brandon Zylstra and Cayleb Jones -- to find out how they can contribute in this scheme.