KFAN is your Radio Home for Vikings Football. During the 2011 Season, tune in to Vikings programming KFAN 100.3 all week long.
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - Stemming off the Vikings biggest victory since they dismantled the Dallas Cowboys in the 2009 playoffs, the Minnesota Vikings are riding high. To make things better, they preparing to get one of their shiny, new offensive weapons back from suspension this week.
Currently stuck in the middle of the pack on offense, the Vikings are averaging 23.3 points per game and 353.3 yards per game (232.0 yards per game passing). Christian Ponder out performed expectations but the team hopes that those numbers are about to jump as free agent wide receiver Jerome Simpson rejoins the team for their week four tilt with the Detroit Lions.
The Lions bring one of the worst defensive secondaries in the league to the table and their defense as a whole has allowed 94 points to St. Louis, San Francisco and Tennessee. Coming off of a weekend where they were torched for 378 yards by Jake Locker and the artist formerly known as the worst team in the league, the Tennessee Titans, the Lion defense is battered. The Vikings are hoping that adding Simpson's big play ability to an already potent offensive attack will only further demoralize an already ailing Lions secondary.
"We want to utilize his talents as much as possible," Frazier said Monday. "He's chomping at the bit to get out there and help us, but we want to get him integrated right away."
Simpson has already resumed his role with the team, attending morning meetings with his teammates on Monday and will take part in team practice beginning Wednesday.
The Vikings are hoping that the addition of Simpson will allow Ponder and the Vikings offense to stretch the field more. During his 2011 season, his first season starting for the Cincinnati Bengals, Simpson averaged 14.5 yards per reception (725 total yards) and hauled in four touchdowns. With a three game substance abuse suspension hanging over his head, Simpson took the field for the Vikings this preseason and it was much of the same. Playing limited snaps with the starters, in only two games, Simpson caught 3 balls for 43 yards (14.3 yards per reception).
At this point in time, there are not many questions surrounding Simpson's physical talents. He stands Six-feet, one inches tall, ran a 4.3sec forty, and has been known to flip and jump over defensive backs on a fairly regular basis. The adjustment curve for Simpson will be getting the pads on and adjusting to the speed and contact of the game compared to that of OTAs and Training Camp.
"There's going to be a little bit of a challenge for him," Frazier said of Simpson's acclimation. "The contact part of it, wearing the pads again, the speed of the game. The good thing is, he's a veteran player who has been in the league for a while...we'll just kind of have to see how he does in practice and that will probably determine how much we'll get him involved early in the game. But we've got to bring him along, we want to utilize his gifts and we definitely want to be able to take advantage of his talents."
For the time being, the Vikings have received an exemption from the league that allows them to retain 54-players on the active roster until Thursday afternoon at 3:00pm. At that point, they will have to make a corresponding move and waive a player from their roster. By most accounts, that player will be WR Stephen Burton, but Leslie Frazier and his staff have yet to disclose any actual information surrounding their decision. It should be noted that they do not have to release a wide receiver. However, with injuries elsewhere and how little Burton has contributed, he is likely going to pull the short straw.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings' updates and breaking Vikings' news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjMansourKFAN
*Photo - Brad Rempel/US Presswire