EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Jerome Simpson came to the Minnesota Vikings last season as a breath of fresh air.
The former Cincinnati Bengals receiver was excitable, always smiling and he connected with quarterback Christian Ponder on a few big plays during minicamp. He was going to be the deep-threat receiver Minnesota had been looking for.
Then he served his three-game suspension for drug-related charges at the start of the season, slowing the momentum he had built with his new team. He returned in Week 4 and had four catches for 50 yards and drew two big pass-interference penalties. It turned out to be his best game of the season.
Simpson suffered a mysterious back injury that caused issues with his legs. The explosiveness that was seen in highlight films a year earlier when Simpson did a flip into the end zone over a defender to score a touchdown was gone. Simpson couldn't push off with his legs, his burst to get away from defenders was gone.
"It was just one of those freak things; L5 ...