Storyline #6 in Wednesday’s “8 Vikings-Titans Storylines To Follow” discussed the possibility of Tennessee WR Kenny Britt returning to the lineup on Sunday after missing two of his team’s first four games because of suspension and injury. Britt did not play last week against Houston, leading many to believe that the extra week of rest would ensure his availability for Sunday’s game against the Vikings.
That may not be the case, however. John Glennon of the Tennessean wrote on Wednesday that Britt “continues to be slowed” by an ankle injury and was able to take part in individual drills but not in team activities during practice.
“He’s taken the next step as far as being on the field and running again,” Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak said, according to Glennon. “How he responds tomorrow and how much more he can do tomorrow … There’s no doubt he’s going to have to improve the next couple of days to help us on Sunday. But at least he’s headed in the right direction.”
Whether or not Britt plays on Sunday is likely a question that will go right up until 90 minutes prior to kickoff, which is when teams are required to declare their inactive players.
Britt was a 1st-round pick of Tennessee’s back in 2009 and he began his career with 84 receptions and 12 TDs in his first 28 games. That production, along with his size (6-3, 215 pounds) and speed combination, had many thinking he was a player on the rise. But he’s come across several speed bumps since then, missing 19 of the 52 games Tennessee has played since they drafted him.
Regardless of Britt’s status for Sunday, the Vikings will have to contend with an explosive group of Titans pass catchers. Here’s a quick and closer look at a few of those players…
TE Jared Cook - A 3rd-round pick of the Titans out of South Carolina in 2009, Cook has prototypical size and athleticism for an NFL TE. He measures in at 6-5, 246 pounds and he possesses the athletic traits and skill set to present mismatch nightmares for opposing LBs and safeties. Cook began his career slowly, but has since progressed into a more prominent role within the Titans offense. He’s played in 16 games the past two seasons after playing in 14 games as a rookie, and through 4 games in 2012 he has 14 receptions for 200 yards and 1 TD. The Vikings have permitted TD receptions to TEs in 3 of their first 4 games, and if someone doesn’t keep a close eye on Cook, it could happen again.
WR Nate Washington - He wasn’t a high draft pick and you don’t hear fantasy football players raving about his production, but Washington is a solid player who can burn a defense. Washington debuted in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Tiffin and signed with the Titans in 2009. He had his best season last year, with 74 receptions for 1,023 yards and 7 TDs. Washington has 2 TDs already this year and he’s averaging 22.8 yards per reception.
WR Kendall Wright - With the 20th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Titans found one of the better rookies in the class in Wright. After a successful career at Baylor where he starred with fellow 1st-rounder Robert Griffin III and broke the school record for single-season receptions twice, Wright was a sure-fire 1st-round prospect. With Britt and Washington already in the fold, the Titans were not short on talent at the position, but the addition of Wright provides Tennessee with an explosive crop of pass-catchers. Wright leads the team with 18 receptions and is tied with Washington for the team lead in touchdown receptions with 2.
Others: RB Chris Johnson, TE Craig Stevens, WR Damian Williams
Johnson is a threat any time he touches the ball, and he has 11 receptions through 4 games. Stevens has 9 receptions for 138 yards this year, and he had a TD reception last week against the Houston Texans. Williams is listed behind Britt on the Titans online depth chart, so he figures to see an increased role if Britt doesn’t play. Williams has 12 receptions for 104 yards so far this season.
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