Heading into the 2013 campaign, the Minnesota Vikings look like a team that could flourish or flounder based on a couple factors. One of those factors is the passing game, something that Jerome Simpson has a larger role in than the team would prefer.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, there aren’t too many other options in quarterback Christian Ponder’s arsenal.
Simpson, who was re-signed this offseason after disappointing in his first season in Minnesota, is expected to fill the No. 2 receiver role across from Greg Jennings. His spot on the depth chart is in danger as Cordarrelle Patterson develops as an NFL pass-catcher, but in the meantime, the Vikings will have to settle with Simpson as a starter.
A speedy field-stretcher with suspect hands and a few loose screws up top, Simpson was signed in 2012 to be a deep threat for Ponder and Co. Throughout his first stint with the Vikings, though, he struggled to make any sort of significant impact. In 12 games, he caught 26 passes for 274 yards while failing to find the end zone.
It’s understood that a back injury slowed Simpson throughout the year, but his general ineffectiveness all season long was too overwhelming to overlook his disappointing offering. For a guy considered to be a deep threat and not much else, 10.5 yards per catch isn’t cutting it.
The Vikings – and more specifically Ponder – need as many weapons to throw to as possible. They may have Jennings and tight end Kyle Rudolph, but Simpson as the No. 2 receiver could be crippling if Patterson doesn’t catch on quickly. Simpson is easily the biggest weakness in the Vikings’ starting offensive lineup.
By starting Simpson, Minnesota is bringing a knife to a gun fight.