EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings have selected Arkansas receiver Jarius Wright with their first pick in the fourth round.
Wright, who was taken 118th overall, caught 66 passes for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Razorbacks last season. He helps fill a need on the outside for the Vikings, who are desperate for playmakers to complement Percy Harvin.
Wright had 13 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns in a game against Texas A&M last season and three catches for 88 yards and a score in Arkansas' victory over Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl. He holds the school's career records for catches (168) and yards (2,934) and is second in school history with 24 touchdowns.
Listed at 5-foot-10, Wright is on the smaller side for a receiver. Much like Harvin, he relies more on quickness and 4.4-speed than size to be effective, which would seem to make him more a threat as a slot receiver than on the outside. But the Vikings did sign former Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson to provide some speed on the outside, and they have a boatload of picks the rest of the way to address that need as well.
It's the first of nine picks the Vikings have on the final day of the draft, including three in the fourth round. They were expected to be busy for most of the day, either making picks or using them in trades as they continue to rebuild a roster that went 3-13 last season.
They chose USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil and Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith in the first round and Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson in the third round.
The Vikings have finished last in their division for back-to-back years for the first time in the franchise's 50-year history. Last year's debacle prompted owners Zygi and Mark Wilf to elevate Rick Spielman to general manager and give the team a singular voice to chart the course of the rebuild.
In his first offseason running the show, Spielman took a cautious approach to free agency, signing second- and third-tier players to short deals to bolster the team's depth rather than make splashier moves to address the many holes in the starting lineups on both offense and defense. The strategy put a lot more pressure on this week to add difference-makers to a roster in flux.
They started the draft with plenty of ammunition and ambition, and it didn't take long for both to show up. They traded down one spot with Cleveland in the first round on Thursday - acquiring three more picks in the process - and took USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the fourth overall choice. They then traded their second-rounder and a fourth-rounder to move up to 29 and take Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith.
The Vikings addressed another need in the third round on Friday when they took Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson and headed into the final day with needs at receiver, linebacker and in the secondary.
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