2014 Minnesota Vikings Free Agency: Vikings Re-Sign Wide Receiver Jerome Simpson

While the full numbers haven’t been released yet, it’s good news that the Minnesota Vikings have re-signed wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who almost exclusively play the split end role for them.

Simpson is cheap starting-quality talent and good depth to be had on a team suddenly brimming with receiver talent. Simpson had been pursued by other teams, but having him with the Vikings allow them to take advantage of the chemistry he’s built with the rest of the team as they learn the new offense.

I’ve advocated signing Simpson before, so there’s not much to add—

Jerome Simpson was the Minnesota Vikings’ leading receiver until the 14th game of the season, where Greg Jennings overtook him. Simpson, previous of the Cincinnati Bengals, has been on the same team as head coach Mike Zimmer, but they worked on opposite sides of the ball.

If the Vikings re-sign Simpson to the same price as before ($2.1 million in cap space, or $1.35 base salary, $250k in LBTE incentives and $500k in guaranteed signing bonus) it should be a good deal for both parties. Simpson isn’t a stellar receiver, but he’s a legitimate starting talent that can be phased into extremely good depth should Cordarrelle Patterson or Jarius Wright take over.

Just like with Jamarca Sanford or Phil Loadholt, Minnesota Vikings fans shouldn’t let previous poor performances blind them to good performances last year (or in Sanford and Loadholt’s case, the last two years), especially as Simpson suffered a back injury throughout most of the year. He’s not a super star, but he was never sold (or paid) as one. Not everyone on a team needs to be special for a team to have an excellent offense, and Simpson can be great value, especially as a rotational player.

This doesn’t preclude the Vikings from grabbing a receiver in an obscenely rich draft, one of the few positions that not only has depth, but strong talent at the top (other positions, notably QB, have a lot of depth but not a lot at the top). He can have 60 yards a game in him, which is nearly 1000-yards in a full season, should Simpson avoid suspension.

The second-best receiver on NFL teams averaged below that, with 54 yards a game and Simpson will likely be asked to be the third or fourth option for most games, behind Patterson, Jennings and Rudolph (third options have averaged just over 40 yards a game, most of them tight ends).

Having a flatter distribution of receiving talent on the field (avoiding a huge drop between #2 and #3 or #3 and #4) can be hugely important not just for depth and continuity in case of injury, but because progressions need to be designed to increase success rate for quarterbacks; should the pre-snap read tell the quarterback to read one half of the field, and the first option is covered, that usually means throwing to the #3 or #4 option because the other half of the field had the second-best receiver.

Listing third receivers on teams makes it even easier to see the comparison. He may not be as good as Tony Gonzalez or James Jones, but he’s far better than players like Marlon Brown, Rueben Randle and Heath Miller—offenses that may have struggled last year, but clearly have franchise quarterbacks.

Good move by the Vikings.

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  1. I like the signing. He could be really good if he grew up a little and took his career seriously. Hopefully he becomes another example of a successful reclamation project along the lines of Adam Jones, and Vontaze Burfict.

  2. I knew he would be back. I hope Norv can get him more involved and more production out of him.

  3. I believe the rapid growth or Patterson, coupled with a new HC and OC…..is going to mean very good things for the receiving corps next year. I just hope they don’t reach for a WR in the draft…..too many other need positions.

  4. Ok, I’ve had enough… it’s time to start the Joe Webb chants!

    Simpson sure gets his fair share of targets. JS was targeted 100 times last season while Jennings was targeted 105. Jennings produced 3 more touchdowns, 20 more receptions and 78 more yards.

  5. I like the signing too. Hopefully Simpson keeps his head on straight and takes advantage of the opportunity in front of him.
    He sort of reminds me of another WR we had on the team a while back who,in his early years, had some issues; Cris Carter.

    1. Let’s not get carried away Fran….I doubt Jerome lands in the HOF. If he dose, well…damn, that would really be something.

  6. Say hello to Chris Cook’s upcoming Pro Bowl run.

    Joe Webb? Still a wild card for me. Crappy system that didn’t know how to use him.

  7. Steve Smith : a three-year deal worth $11 million with a $3.5 million signing bonus with Ravens

  8. I think its due time we have an article about Rob our cap man…not only do we seem to be better off right now than anyone projected.. but he is reason we can do all we have this off season.

    What about it Arif.this guy is due respect ?

  9. “Not everyone on a team needs to be special…”
    very good point, arif. re-signing a journeyman WR like JS is a good move

    when a team keeps it’s own players, ya gotta respect that, cuz they know these guys better than anyone else

    1. That one surprises me a bit, he didn’t exactly have a huge # to start off with. The amount he dropped his contract by almost covers the Cox contract though.

  10. Not a fan of Simpson. He has no physical presence which leads to flinching, tips, & Ints. His softness does get him interference flags. Ponder & Musgrave love of him kept Patterson stapled to the bench and to lesser degree Jarius Wright who I also think is a better option than Simpson. As a cheap 4th rec OK – but if he needs more reps to be happy at expense of Patterson or Wright then Vikes O takes a step back. Don’t see a ton of value in a mediocre NFL receiver who is constantly in trouble. Main point Simpson is not a 2 he is a 4 WR with baggage and possible more missed games because of it.