Vikings turn to espionage
- Article by: MARK CRAIG and KENT YOUNGBLOOD
- Star Tribune staff writers
- October 17, 2012 - 8:11 PM
Backup cornerback A.J. Jefferson has been a popular fella among the coaching staff at Winter Park this week.
Why? Because two months ago he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals, who play the Vikings at Mall of America Field on Sunday.
"I feel involved a little bit more this week," Jefferson said. "They want to talk to me a lot. I feel like part of the coaching staff." He spent Monday going from meeting room to meeting room to share his inside knowledge of the Cards.
Jefferson joined the Cardinals as a rookie free agent in 2010. He played in two games that year and then started seven of 16 games last season.
He was traded to the Vikings on Sept. 1 as the Cardinals were making their final roster cuts.
He's played in the past five games, mostly on special teams. Asked if there's a revenge factor this week, Jefferson said, "Oh, yeah. No question. Anytime you get traded away, you definitely want to put it on the team you're playing against."Sitting doesn't pay
Jerome Simpson said he was 100 percent healthy but said he understood coach Leslie Frazier was doing what he thought was best for the team when he was declared inactive for last Sunday's game in Washington.
But that doesn't mean the wide receiver is happy.
"That makes you mad," Simpson said. "It's nothing personal against [Frazier]. He's just doing what's best for the team.''
Simpson has a clause in his $2 million contract that costs him nearly $60,000 when he is inactive for a game.
"You lose $60,000 you'd be mad, too," he said.
Simpson reiterated the scenario that affected him two weeks ago, the tightness in the calf that moved down to a leg that he couldn't raise normally. Simpson said, while the doctors told him the problem likely stemmed from his back, that the treatment he got was on his leg. And that now he was just fine, and he didn't expect the symptoms to return.
Said Frazier: "We're looking forward to getting him out there, getting him back and involved in our offense. He's a weapon that we'd sorely love to have on the field. He has big play capabilities."
As for Frazier's latest explanation for why Simpson sat Sunday?
"Last Thursday and Friday when he worked, and even in talking with him, we realized he couldn't push off the way he wanted to," Frazier said. "[He] wasn't comfortable mentally, completely with where he was. ... I just wanted to be smart, give him a little more time. It's a long season."Dancing feet
When it comes to being more accurate as a passer, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder says it all starts with his feet.
Ponder talked about his accuracy issues -- particularly in the Washington game -- and specifically about passes he missed to tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson and the pass intended for wide receiver Michael Jenkins that was intercepted by Madieu Williams and returned for a score.
"The one I threw short to Kyle, I flipped my feet around and I should have just stayed on the run and threw off-balance," Ponder said. "I had a missed throw to John Carlson on a little corner route that I didn't really set my feet. It's all footwork.
"The one to Jenkins I was hitching up because I was looking left and he was on the right and I never got my foot all the way to the right and that's why I kind of dropped the ball and it sailed on me."Raymond practices
Safety Mistral Raymond returned to practice Wednesday, participating on a limited basis 24 days after he dislocated his ankle in Week 3. It is highly unlikely he would play Sunday.
The only player to miss practice was running back Adrian Peterson, who is resting his sore left ankle. "He'll be fine on Sunday," Frazier said.
Dan Wiederer contributed to this report
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