Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson was slowed last Sunday by what was thought at the time to be some type of leg injury against the Tennessee Titans, but further tests have shown a disc issue in his back that is causing leg numbness. Surgery was mentioned as a possibility, which would mean a potential six week absence, but Wednesday’s news suggests simple rehab can fix the issue.
Simpson’s status for Week 6 against the Washington Redskins is up in the air right now, and even if he’s active his effectiveness will certainly be fairly limited along with his snap count. It may be best for the team to leave him in Minnesota if there’s any chance he will be inactive, as a long play ride to the east coast would not be good for his back.
Simpson signed a one-year deal with the Vikings in April, and sat out the first three games of the season while serving a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He had four receptions for 50 yards in his 2012 debut against the Detroit Lions in Week 4, and also drew two pass interference penalties. He did not have a reception against the Titans in Week 5, and was targeted three times.
Just how long Simpson will be sidelined is very unclear at this point, despite head coach Leslie Frazier’s optimism, but it can be assumed he will not play in Week 6 barring significant progress over the rest of the week. The Vikings will take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7, then face a short week playing Thursday night in Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
So it makes sense for the Vikings to rest Simpson for the next three games, all of which look winnable without him, if there is any question at all about his health. Making sure he is 100 percent healthy later in the season when the schedule gets tougher has to be a priority, especially if Minnesota remains in the NFC playoff picture.