Found November 01, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Eight weeks into the season, and four games into his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, this year hasn't gone the way receiver Jerome Simpson or Minnesota might have planned when the two came to terms on a one-year contract this offseason. Simpson, dealing with a legal issue related to controlled substances, was the troubled, but talented receiver looking for a new team after the Cincinnati Bengals chose not to re-sign him. The Vikings had the need for an explosive, athletic playmaker at receiver to take the pressure off receiver Percy Harvin, running back Adrian Peterson and contribute to the growth of second-year quarterback Christian Ponder. Halfway through this season, Simpson has had little impact in four games, catching seven passes for 95 yards. He has added several more yards while getting pass interference penalties on defenders. But this was not the dynamic presence anyone with the Vikings thought they'd see when Simpson was a breath of fresh air in the offseason program and seemed to develop an instant chemistry with Ponder. "It's been tough," coach Leslie Frazier said. "The way his season started, the absence and missing games, and then the injury he had there for a little bit. But as we go along, he'll become more acclimated to what we're trying to get done and we'll get a better rhythm of how to use him as well. But I think we're making some progress. We just haven't connected as often as we'd like, but I think it will come." Coming off a three-game suspension to start the season, which was expected before Simpson signed, the fifth-year receiver came out strong against the Detroit Lions in his first game, catching four passes for 50 yards and another 57 yards in penalties. Then he dealt with a strange back injury that was causing numbness and weakness in his foot, causing him to be limited his next game and a surprise deactivation the following week. Simpson has said he's healthy and was disappointed with being inactive against the Washington Redskins because it cost him 60,000 because of a clause in his contract. He's been testy when asked about his health in recent weeks. Instead, he's focusing on making an impact and trying to re-establish his rapport with Ponder. "Yeah, we're still on the same page," Simpson said of his connection with Ponder. "We're going to just try and get back to where we were and be the best we can be." Simpson was targeted seven times in last week's game, but only came away with two catches for 37 yards. He had one deep pass go through his hands. Ponder also tried to hit Simpson a few times deep down the sideline on passes that went out of bounds. "I think we had that chemistry ever since he got here, and we need to keep working on it," Ponder said. "It's good. I fully trust him and obviously he's a heck of a receiver." Simpson, on his first catch last week, fumbled while trying to gain extra yards, but Ponder doesn't sense Simpson is trying to press because of the limited productivity. "He's a competitor, and he's always trying to make big plays," Ponder said. "We all just need to do a better job of protecting the ball. That's no fault to him. I don't think he's pressing, no. I definitely think he wants the ball in his hand like everyone else does." Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said part of the issue, as with the other receivers, could be some of the routes they are asking Simpson to run. Simpson is blessed with good speed, though the majority of his routes have been deep down the sideline. "Well, if you looked at the film I guess you could answer that in the affirmative on a couple plays," Musgrave said of Simpson not getting enough separation from defenders. "But, we need to do a better job also of asking him to run different types of routes as well. We're looking forward to that starting this week." Simpson sounds ready for whatever is asked of him. He's been desperate to help the team and his disappointment in being limited, physically and production-wise, has been obvious. "I know all my routes and stuff," Simpson said. "It's just putting me in the best position to help us win, and that's what Musgrave is trying to do. We're trying to get me involved and then still staying in the game plan because we still have great players like Percy (Harvin)that we have to get the ball to, and Adrian (Peterson)and the tight ends too." Harvin misses Thursday's practice: Leading receiver Percy Harvin missed Thursday's practice and Fraziersaid he was tending to a family matter. Harvin, who leads the NFL with 60 catches this season, is expected to be back for Friday's practice, and Frazier said he's "pretty convinced" the matter won't cause Harvin to miss Sunday's game at Seattle. Frazier said Harvin was currently still in town and hadn't returned home as of Thursday afternoon. "I'm not sure if he'll have to," Frazier said of Harvin leaving town. "He's trying to get some details. We'll see. I'll talk to him again tonight when we get through with practice." Harvin was limited in practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury, the same hamstring that was sore earlier this season. But Frazier didn't seem worried about the injury. "He moved pretty good," Frazier said. "It was a little tight, but he moved pretty good. He went through everything that we did. So, he was fine." Carlson still not cleared: Tight end John Carlson still hasn't passed his concussion testing and likely won't be able to return for Sunday's game against his former team with only one practice left this week. Carlson, who's had at least four documented concussions, missed last week's game after suffering the concussion while on special teams on Oct. 21 against the Arizona Cardinals. The first free agent signed by Minnesota in the offseason, Carlson has just three catches for eight yards this season. No trades at deadline: The league's trade deadline passed by Thursday afternoon with no action from the Vikings. The league had pushed back the deadline to Thursday because of Hurricane Sandy, which caused league offices to be closed. Minnesota still has an open spot on its active 53-man roster since putting Chris Cook on injured reserve last week. The Viking held several tryouts over the past few days, and Frazier said the personnel staff has had a lot of discussion on how to fill the spot. Frazier said Minnesota could look to fill in Cook's spot by signing a cornerback before Sunday's game, but no moves were made Thursday. Speculation that the 53rd spot stayed open while talking trades went unfulfilled after the deadline passed without a deal. "Let's see, is it 3 p.m. yet," Frazier asked about the 3 p.m. deadline. "If it hasn't happened, it won't be happening." Follow http:www.twitter.com@MNBrianHall" target="new">Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Raging spirit dwells within Vikings' Peterson

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Adrian Peterson is a beast on the football field, one of the best and toughest running backs in the NFL. This week he turned himself into a beast off the field.For the Minnesota Vikings' Halloween party, Peterson dressed as the Hulk and then tweeted a picture that would make Dr. David Banner proud. And when Peterson is involved, there's no need for any...

Wilfs donate 100,000 toward hurricane relief

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. The hurricane that hit the East Coast this week hit very close to home for the Wilf family, the principal owners of the Minnesota Vikings. On Friday, the team and the Wilf family announced they are pledging 100,000 toward Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. "Being from and living in the affected areas, our family has seen first-hand the destruction of Hurricane...

Two Vikings, one ever-changing practice squad spot

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Ernest Owusu keeps his apartment in the Twin Cities as he waits for a call from the Minnesota Vikings despite being waived Monday. The rookie defensive end from California has become used to this. It's not the way Owusu dreamt of starting his career, but it's a way of keeping his NFL fire from burning out too soon.While Owusu waits, rookie offensive lineman...

Peterson on a 300-yard game: 'Yeah, it's possible'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Adrian Peterson was in the middle of answering a reporter's question Thursday, speaking about how he'll do anything to help the Minnesota Vikings succeed.Peterson, coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing games for the first time this season, said it doesn't matter if he has to have, "100 yards, 80 yards, 60 yards receiving, 300 yards rushing...

Vikings want to restore timing to passing game

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Fingers have been squarely pointed in quarterback Christian Ponder's direction the past few weeks as the Minnesota Vikings' passing game has ground nearly to a halt and struggled to find any sense of rhythm or continuity. Ponder accepts the responsibility and has taken the blame that comes along with being Minnesota's leader on the field. His coaches...

Peterson misses practice, will play Sunday

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Adrian Peterson sat out Friday's practice with continued soreness in his left ankle, but Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he expects his star running back to play in Sunday's game at Seattle.Peterson, who leads the league in rushing with 775 yards, rested for precautionary reasons and spent Friday rehabbing and treating the ankle, which he...

Vikings RB Peterson held out but on track to play

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is listed as probable to play at Seattle, despite his absence from the final full practice of the week. The Vikings wanted to give the sprained left ankle that has bothered Peterson for the last month some extra rest, so he worked in the pool and received treatment instead of taking the field Friday. But coach Leslie Frazier said the...

Percy Harvin misses practice becuaase of family issue

Earlier today we reported that Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin missed practice because of a hamstring injury. According to the Pioneer-Press, the real reason Harvin was absent is because he had a family issue to deal with. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier says he expects Harvin to be ready for Sunday.   var _CI = _CI || {}; (function() { var script = document.createElement...

Kluwe put on notice with punter workout

The Vikings brought in a punter for a workout Tuesday, which could be a message to Chris Kluwe that he needs to perform better.

Kluwe defends outside interests

Vikings punter Chris Kluwe defended his outside interests and said they don’t get in the way of his punting. He is one of the most outspoken athletes on Minnesota’ s gay marriage amendment issue, but he said his time spent promoting that and working other interests doesn’t interfere with his ability to punt in a “children’s game.”

Healthy Rice could mean trouble for Vikings

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings understand the tease with Seattle Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice very well from his first four years in the league. In the past two years, Seattle has learned quickly that Rice can be one of the NFL's best wide receivers, when healthy. That's been the rub for Rice. The talented, 6-foot-4 receiver has played in 16 games only once...

Vikings-Seahawks Preview

The Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks didn't end the first half of the season how they wanted. Both are hoping the second half starts on a positive note Sunday. The Vikings will try to rebound from their most lopsided loss of the year and hand a third consecutive defeat to the Seahawks, who seek their best start at home since 2005. This game features the NFL's top...

Peterson, Lynch provide quite the comparisons

The top two running backs in the league will be on the same field Sunday. But the comparisons between Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch go far beyond this season’s yardage totals. See how similar they are and what the Vikings had to say about Lynch.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.