Friday, March 6, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "jerome simpson"

jerome simpson

One of my finer pleasures in life is listening to KFAN’s Paul Allen call the play-by-play for a Minnesota Vikings football game. Sunday night’s preseason game against the 49ers was nationally televised, so I thought I would multi-task by keeping one eye on the TV, one eye on the VT live chat, and an ear on the voice of the Vikings, Mr. Paul Allen. More is better right? In this case that turned out to be true. The big hits by Jerome Simpson and Joe Webb to my knowledge were not captured by the national TV cameras, but the action didn’t go unnoticed by the Vikings’ radio coverage personalities.

 You won’t find Simpson’s tackle as part of the official game stats, but as a crazy fan was running around on the field untouched by the security guards; Simpson stepped up and knocked him to the turf. Ok, so the big hit was more like a trip or a push, but that non-play play in the closing minutes of the game was surely worth the price of admission.

 Joe Webb might be listed as a 3rd string wide receiver at the moment, but he is also trying to land a starting job on the kickoff return team. Yes, he has one NFL kickoff return for 30 yards to his credit, but this preseason he is getting reps and showing value as a front line blocker on the return unit. That’s right, Joe Webb a  front line blocker.  According to Paul Allen, Webb the QB turned WR, absolutely leveled Perrish Cox on a block during one of the Vikings first half kickoff returns.

 

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Infamous for his flip over a defender and his extra curricular activity with a funky leaf, Jerome Simpson’s now scores some “honest” credit for a recent off-season workout. Simpson was spotted running sprints and catching passes at the private training camp of the All-Everything wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

The CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) doesn’t allow players to use team facilities during this time period before the start of training camp, so Fitzgerald brings his camp home to Minnesota. Every July since 2009, The University of Minnesota has allowed Larry and 25 to 50 of his friends to workout and use the stadium, practice fields, weight rooms and other facilities.

This camp is known for being very intense with conditioning, lifting in the weight room, and the competition on the field. Fitzgerald has a reputation for being a workout warrior, so I’m hoping some of that work ethic will rubs off on Simpson. Wide receivers at the camp also get quality instruction on route running techniques by former Vikings’ great Cris Carter.

Sidney Rice had a Pro Bowl season in Minnesota after attending his first Fitzgerald camp in 2009. Last year Everson Griffen attended the camp and he went on to have a solid year collecting 26 tackles and 8 sacks in a rotational roll.

Jerome hopes that his time at the Fitzgerald camp will be a step in the right direction for him as well.

“I wanted to work with one of the greats,” Simpson said, via Chip Scoggins. “I got an opportunity to come down here and work with him so I wanted to take full advantage of it.”

“I’m trying to pick his brain while I’m here and try and get in the same position that he is,” Simpson said. “He’s a great receiver. When I was in college, I always looked up to him. It’s an honor to be able to train with him.”

Last season Simpson had 26 catches for 274 yards for the Vikings. Can Simpson “flip” those numbers into something more productive this year?

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It seems like just yesterday, even though it was quite some time ago, that 1500 ESPN provided an escape for Minneapolis sports writers that were likely feeling the pinch that came with being a part of a dying newspaper industry.  At that time, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune was riddled with annoying “innovations” such as premium content that you had to pay for and more pop-up ads than anyone cared to sit through.  These writers, such as long-time veteran of the beat Judd Zulgad, opted to jump ship and embrace the web and radio based content 1500 provided.

Now, one of 1500‘s best assets is doing the exact opposite, as Tom Pelissero is leaving the Vikings beat for a job with USA Today.

According to The Daily Norseman, Pelissero made the news official on Twitter, where Pelissero admitted that he will starting his new job next month.  Pelissero has since revealed on Twitter that he won’t have to leave his Minnesota home to take this job, but he will now be covering the NFL as a whole, instead of focusing solely on the Vikings beat.

While the news might make Jerome Simpson smile, as there will be one less douchebag hovering around his locker, I think I speak for Vikings enthusiasts everywhere when I say Pelissero’s absence will leave a huge void.  From his keen film analysis, to his unmatched wealth of sources, to his ability to obtain and analyze contract details like nobody else, us bloggers and fans will now have to work a lot harder to get the information we crave on a daily basis.

Pelissero has always treated yours truly very well and I wish him the best of luck in this new chapter of his career, but am also very hopeful that 1500 ESPN chooses wisely in trying to replace him.

We have already established with pretty good detail that Rick Spielman’s decision to release veteran cornerback, and locker room leader, Antoine Winfield was not a popular one when it came to the fan base.

As it turns out, according to NFL Network‘s Ian Rappaport, the move did not sit well with some “Vikings people” within Winter Park either.

One person told Rappaport that “It’s a move backwards” and he says some “aren’t thrilled” with Spielman’s decision.

I feel like I’ve already beat this topic to death, but I would still like to note that as of Thursday afternoon right tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Andre Smith remain unsigned, which is significant because the decision to break their budget for Phil Loadholt was cited as a reason for Winfield’s abrupt departure.  In fact, other decent offensive tackles are currently available such as Jake Long and Eric Winston, not to mention the many options available in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Rick Spielman has a reputation in Minnesota for letting the market establish itself before making hasty, big-money decisions so it was surprising to see him cave to Loadholt’s demands even if the player was threatening to join the division rival Chicago Bears.

However, recent events are making me wonder if Spielman isn’t overvaluing the players he has had a hand in bringing to Minnesota.  The most recent evidence of this is that the Vikings quickly snatched receiver Jerome Simpson to a one year deal worth $2.1 million.  Not only is that a raise from his 2012 salary of $2 million, but Spielman gave Simpson a $500,000 signing bonus, and a $250,000 workout bonus, according to 1500 ESPN.  The Vikings are betting on Simpson staying healthy (he did pass his physical) and producing far more significantly than he did last season.

Simpson’s pay day comes despite the fact that he never produced more than 50 receiving yards in any game last season and has caught the same amount of touchdown passes from Christian Ponder as I have:  zero.

It is not a huge surprise that fans aren’t a fan of Rick Spielman’s approach to free agency, as he is usually going to shy away from the splashy instant gratification moves that fans love to see, but his decision to cut Winfield is putting everything else he does under a microscope and doing the math to see just why exactly his plan had to involve that questionable decision.

And, according to Rappaport’s report, some within Winter Park are looking pretty closely themselves.

I am sure that Rick Spielman would like to orchestrate an offseason that sees the 31st ranked passing game take great strides forwards.  That is easier said than done, especially when your offseason begins with losing two of your top receivers.

One guy they did retain, however, is Jerome Simpson.  Simpson joined the Vikings on a one year deal last season, after his three game suspension was officially announced by the NFL, with high hopes that he could help ignite some sort of vertical game.  His season was plagued by injury and turned out to be quite disappointing, having never scored a touchdown or even gaining more than 50 yards in any game.

Still, the Vikings apparently see some of that potential there, and are hoping he stays healthy enough to be a legitimate threat in 2013.  They extended him to a one year deal, and the financials aren’t yet known yet, but I am willing to bet that it is equal to, or less than, the $2 million deal he signed last year.

Simpson’s signing was basically a zero risk move that gives the Vikings some flexibility.  He could be better in 2013, having seemed to start developing a chemistry with Christian Ponder towards the end of the year, and will get another chance to stay healthy and put together a full season.

If Spielman manages to fill out the depth chart with high quality playmakers then Simpson, who presents little special teams value, could still be expendable when it comes time to make final cuts.

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