About the only reservation the Vikings had coming away from their win last Sunday over the Tennessee Titans was the leg condition WR Jerome Simpson experienced on Sunday morning. Numbness and weakness in his leg didn’t keep him from playing, but it did prevent him from making the kind of impact he and the team envisioned.
Ambiguity about the condition persisted on Monday when Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier met with reporters, as he disclosed that more was to be learned about the condition after Simpson underwent more testing.
The Vikings and Simpson have gained some clarity since, according to Frazier. While speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Frazier explained that the problems Simpson experienced on Sunday were actually attributed to a back ailment of some kind. The inexactness of the injury naturally causes some uneasiness, and even though Frazier said the Vikings would hold Simpson out of practice on Wednesday, the Vikings are hopeful that their speedy WR will return to practice this week and perhaps even play on Sunday.
“We don’t think it’s anything long-term,” Frazier said. “We just want him to continue to go through some of the exercises that (Head Athletic Trainer) Eric Sugarman and his staff will take him through today (Wednesday). We may get him back at practice tomorrow, hopefully for sure on Friday. But he may be back tomorrow.
“The good news is there’s no surgery required or anything like that. He should be fine over time.”
Asked specifically by reporters if Simpson could play on Sunday, Frazier again expressed optimism.
“Yeah, all indications are there’s a very good chance,” he said. “We’ll know more, how he responds to some of the treatment they give him today. Hopefully we’ll get him back out at practice tomorrow. We don’t think it’s anything long-term at all.”
A look at the Vikings season stats would not lead one to believe that Simpson’s absence is significant to the Vikings offense. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. In his first game back after missing the opening three contests, Simpson led the Vikings in receiving with 4 receptions for 50 yards. More than just those 4 receptions, though, Simpson’s value to the team is also reflected in how opposing defenses defend him.
“You saw in that Detroit game, the impact he had when he got single coverage,” Frazier explained. “He’s a tough guy to defend. And even when you have pretty good coverage, like that last play (vs. Detroit) when he caught that 27-yarder, his athletic ability sometimes overrides the coverage. You need a guy like that who can make that difficult catch even though he may seem to be covered.”
Frazier also pointed out that the Vikings are seeing a lot of single-high safety looks from opposing defenses, a strategy designed to slow down the Vikings ground game. But having a receiver who can win vs. coverage downfield causes defenses to mix in more two-high safeties, making it easier for the Vikings to run the ball.
“Of late, we’ve seen a lot of single-high safety,” Frazier said. “So one of the reasons Percy was able to get down the sidelines in that game on Sunday was they chose to play single-high, [and] he was able to behind the guy and make a great play for us. But Jerome will hopefully help us to be able to get more two-high safeties than what we’re currently getting, and so we look forward to having him back full-speed.”
Tags: Jerome Simpson, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin
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