Simpson's big game sparks questions about Vikings receivers

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 13, 2013 - 12:24 AM

Jerome Simpson is the veteran, which explains his go-to status.

 

The Packers and Vikings entered the regular season with five receivers apiece.

In Green Bay, quarterback Aaron Rodgers had played a combined 192 regular-season games with James Jones (74), Jordy Nelson (73), Randall Cobb (30), Jarrett Boykin (10) and Jeremy Ross (5).

In Minnesota, quarterback Christian Ponder had played a combined 19 regular-season games with Jerome Simpson (12), Jarius Wright (7), Greg Jennings (0), Cordarrelle Patterson (0) and Joe Webb (0 as a full-time receiver).

This does NOT IN ANY WAY suggest that Ponder needs only to play another 170 games with his current receiving corps to make people forget Brett Favre, win league MVP, hoist a Lombardi Trophy and have former teammates refer to him only as “No.  7.” It does, however, suggest that we all might want to hold off a little on the panicked “how come” questions. Questions such as …

“How come Jennings only caught three passes? … How come Cordarrelle played only five snaps? … How come they don’t use Joe Webb more?”

It caught everyone by surprise when Simpson was the go-to receiver with seven catches for 140 yards in Sunday’s 34-24 season-opening loss at Detroit. Perhaps it shouldn’t have. Simpson is a six-year veteran, he’s healthy after back and leg problems a year ago and he’s the only receiver on the roster who has played anywhere close to a full season with Ponder.

We caught up with Vikings receivers coach George Stewart on Thursday with our own set of questions. Here are four of them:

Patterson shows so much promise as a rookie. Why was he targeted only one time in five offensive snaps?

Stewart: “That was such a disjointed ballgame. Adrian Peterson scored from 78 yards on the first play and then we go three-and-out [three times] and turn the ball over twice and it’s halftime and we’ve run only 19 plays. Also, Jerome was making plays all over the field. And Cordarrelle is behind him [on the depth chart]. It’s hard taking Jerome out of the offense. It’s kind of like Michael Jordan shooting threes and then deciding to bring in the backup guard. But we’re going to get Cordarrelle more involved, obviously, this weekend.”

You’ve gotten to know Greg Jennings. After a game like that, how difficult will it be for him to not lose his patience when the only other quarterbacks he’s played with are Favre and Rodgers?

Stewart: “He understands that this is a team. He understands that everybody can’t marry Miss America. We have good players here. Really good football players. Greg understands that. He’s not trying to compare anybody to anybody. He’s trying to be the best receiver he can be for our quarterback, like he did for Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. It’s kind of like living in a house. One day, you may have a mansion and the next day you may have an apartment. Regardless of where you live, it’s home. He’s trying to make the best home he can make.”

Now that Simpson is on pace for 112 catches for 2,240 yards, what did you think of the acrobatic catch he made on that 47-yarder on Sunday?

Stewart: “That was a play we called for that particular coverage. Man, it was like a Willie Mays catch. Jerome is like Bambi. He’s like a little deer. He has unbelievable bounding ability. That’s Jerome Simpson’s game when he’s healthy. And he’s healthy.”

OK, now the bad. Ponder’s first interception wasn’t the best throw [a slant to Simpson] and only the penalty on Ndamukong Suh prevented it from standing as a pick-six. The ball did go off Simpson’s hands, but there also was contact from the defender at about the same time. Should Simpson have caught that ball?

Stewart: “It would have been a heck of a catch had he caught it. Maybe a couple of guys in this league would have caught it. But that’s the next step. He’s not there as a receiver. That’s the next step, being able to pull that ball in. We’re always saying regardless of where the football is, we want to make plays.”

Rhythm, Stewart said, is the key. And rhythm, he said, takes more than a combined 19 games with the guy throwing the ball.

“Greg is new, Cordarrelle is new, Jerome has been here less than a year, Jarius played less than half a year last year, and Joe was a quarterback,” Stewart said. “They’re still establishing a rhythm with Christian. As we go through this season, you’ll see our passing game take off.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - B. Colon 6:05 PM
Washington - T. Roark
Baltimore - U. Jimenez 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:07 PM
Toronto - R. Dickey
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 6:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Pittsburgh - G. Cole 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb 6:10 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Martinez
St. Louis - S. Miller 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Arizona - A. Chafin 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Columbus
Boston 6:30 PM
Montreal
Nashville 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Toronto
Detroit 7:30 PM
Chicago
San Jose 8:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Time left for great deals

Bid thru Sept. 29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close