Found October 17, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Jerome Simpson's frustration over being inactive for the Minnesota Vikings' loss Sunday was still very apparent as he prepared for Wednesday's practice.Simpson had talked with reporters Monday after Sunday's 38-26 defeat at Washington that dropped Minnesota to 4-2 and behind the Chicago Bears (4-1) in the NFC North standings. He stood before cameras and offered several one-word answers, saying he felt he was 100 percent recovered from a problem with his back that caused weakness and numbness in his leg. He said he wanted to play Sunday and wasn't happy about not being able to help his teammates.Wednesday, Simpson offered another reason for his disappointment."You lose 60,000, you would be mad, too," Simpson said, referring to the roster bonus that he gets paid in addition to his 800,000 base salary for every game he's on the Vikings' active roster. "But we just talked about it, and we're on the same page. I'm just competitive, I just want to be out there on that field. Anytime something gets taken away from you, you are going to be upset about it."Simpson, who signed a one-year contract with Minnesota in the offseason after he was charged with a prohibited act related to controlled substances, has part of his salary tied to being active for games. The athletic receiver, coming off a career season in Cincinnati last year with 50 catches and 725 yards, served a three-game suspension at the beginning of the season.He returned in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions but had that game check held back as part of his suspension. He was active for Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans but was severely limited after waking up with the problem with his leg, which tests revealed stemmed from something in his back. Simpson wasn't able to push off on the affected leg the normal way, but he returned to practice in a limited capacity Thursday and Friday before being inactive Sunday.Frazier said he didn't believe Simpson was ready to play in Sunday's game despite Simpson's assurances he was fine."Just that Thursday and Friday when he worked, and even then talking with him, (I) realized that he couldn't push off the way he wanted to and wasn't comfortable mentally completely with where he was," Frazier said. "The way he plays; he's an energetic guy, who has such a passion for the game, and if you take some of that away, some of his elusiveness, even after the catch, you've affected his game. Just wanted to be smart, give him a little bit more time."Simpson again declared Wednesday he's 100 percent recovered. He planned to practice Wednesday and expects to play Sunday when Minnesota hosts the Arizona Cardinals. He said he was a little concerned initially with the injury because it was something he had never dealt with before."I did nothing on my back," Simpson said. "It mostly on my leg because there was tightness in my leg that was really causing the problem. I couldn't raise my leg like I normally can. I don't really know if it's still from my back or what, I just know I got a lot of treatment on my leg."In his one healthy game this season, Simpson had four catches for 50 yards and also accounted for 57 yards in penalties, while drawing pass interference calls on Detroit defensive backs. His speed and athleticism was added to Minnesota's offense to stretch the field and ease the amount of defenders running back Adrian Peterson, receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Kyle Rudolph face while excelling in the run and short-passing games.With Simpson's limited availability, quarterback Christian Ponder is averaging only 6.83 yards per attempt this season, the 25th-best total in the league.Simpson, who's trying to prove himself to the Vikings and the entire league after the drug involvement last year, is particularly careful about his situation. He didn't want to take a chance of not telling the team about the injury. He wants to be on the field, too, and doesn't believe Sunday's deactivation adds any motivation."I am fired up regardless of the situation," Simpson said. "I try to take the same approach every week as just being fiery and moving on to the next game. So just coach deactivating doesn't put like a sense of that makes you mad, like it is nothing personal against him, he's just doing what's best for the team."If Simpson is truly healthy and ready to go, Frazier is hoping he can return Sunday."He's a competitor," Frazier said. "He's a guy who wants to be out there, and we want him out there as well. He feels like he'll be ready to go this afternoon and looking forward to getting him out there and getting him back involved in our offense. He's a weapon that we sorely would love to have on the field. He has big-play capability and we want to utilize his ability."Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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