The Minnesota Vikings made a surprising move in the offseason when they elected to re-sign Jerome Simpson to another one-year contract. Simpson, who the Vikings acquired in free agency following a breakout season with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011, was assumed to be a one-and-done in Minnesota after having an injured-plagued 2012 campaign.
Simpson finished a dismal 2012 season with only 26 receptions and 274 yards (10.5 average). He hauled in zero touchdowns and failed to be the vertical threat the Vikings thought they were attaining. It’s safe to say Simpson was a huge disappointment in his first year with the Vikings as he finished fourth among Vikings’ wide receivers in receiving yards behind Percy Harvin, Jarius Wright and Michael Jenkins. Yeah, it was that bad.
Simpson spent a majority of the 2012 season suffering from a pinched nerve in his lower back, an injury that he suffered early in the season and never fully recovered from until the season ended. Now healthy, Simpson is producing again.
Through the first two games of the 2013 regular season, Simpson has already recorded nine receptions for 189 yards (21.0 average) — just 85 yards less than his whole 2012 production. His 21-yards-per-catch average ranks fourth in the league among wide receivers, and he has already hauled in two receptions of over 40 yards. The expectations put on Simpson last season are finally taking shape in his second year with the Vikings. He is finally a legitimate deep threat, making opposing defenses prepare for the potential long ball.
If Jerome can keep up the production he has accumulated in the first two games of the season, he should put up a stat line that exceeds his final year with the Cincinnati Bengals — 50 receptions, 725 yards and four touchdowns. Currently, the Vikings leading receiver is on pace for over 100 receptions and just over 1,500 receiving yards. But in all honesty, nobody expects him to be that productive. If Jerome can finish the season with a similar stat line to his final season with the Bengals, Vikings fans should be more than pleased with his season.
Other than a couple of questionable plays, Simpson has completely surprised everyone with his hot start. It’s fun to watch him make highlight-reel plays like his diving catch against the Detroit Lions in Week 1. Now it’s time for him to prove he can play at a consistent level, something he is aiming to do.
“I just want to stay consistent,” Simpson told 1500espn. “So I can show my natural abilities and show I’m one of the top receivers in this league.”
There is no doubt Simpson would surprise the league if he can actually be a top receiver. But so far, there is little reason to doubt his abilities. It’s all about putting together consistent games as the season moves on.