For Vikings' Simpson, it's time to prove it

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 2, 2012 - 11:46 PM

The newly signed receiver wants to show his teammates that he's not the same person as the one who was convicted of a felony drug charge.

Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson, formerly with the Bengals, spent 15 days in jail in April after offering a guilty plea to a felony drug charge. He's now out to prove himself to his new team.

Photo: Al Behrman, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Jerome Simpson exuded nothing but positive energy when he came on his free-agent visit to Winter Park on April 21. The speedy receiver, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Bengals, said he recalled his 2008 pre-draft visit to the Twin Cities and the rapport he felt during interactions with Leslie Frazier (then the defensive coordinator, now the head coach); Rick Spielman (then the vice president of player personnel, now the general manager); and receivers coach George Stewart.

"Great people here," Simpson said. "Great history too. I remember that visit well."

The second time around, Simpson sensed the vibe was even better. But the biggest hurdle to becoming a Viking had little to do with how he felt and everything to do with how Frazier, Spielman and others in the organization felt about him.

Delivering a convincing sales pitch was no easy task, especially after the promising receiver spent 15 days in jail in April after offering a guilty plea to a felony drug charge.

His message to the Vikings?

"Everybody knows that wasn't my character, what happened," Simpson said Wednesday, speaking to local reporters for the first time since signing a one-year contract last week.

Simpson instead asked the Vikings to focus on his gregarious personality and frequent charitable activity.

In addition to meeting with Spielman and Frazier, Simpson also went to lunch with a group of Vikings that included quarterback Christian Ponder, linebacker Jasper Brinkley and defensive end Everson Griffen. Simpson knew that excursion was "to see if I was a good guy and basically to see if I would fit in around here."

In the end, he and the Vikings agreed to what he acknowledged is essentially a one-season "prove it" deal. Now he must prove he has the ability to be a big-time receiving threat. And he must prove he can stay out of trouble.

"You can talk all you want to," Simpson said. "But if you don't prove it, it really doesn't mean a hill of beans."

One thumb down

As an offseason film critic, Ponder has given his 2011 performance a big thumbs down. After completing 54.3 percent of his passes for 1,853 yards and 13 touchdowns with 13 interceptions, Ponder has been horrified watching his rookie struggles.

"There's so much I can do better," he said. "I get so frustrated watching myself from last year. Watching myself skate from the pocket too early and making bad reads and doing pretty dumb stuff. ... It gives me so much confidence that I can be so much better next year."

No hard feelings

Ponder said he and Adrian Peterson both flashed wide grins when the Vikings drafted left tackle Matt Kalil at No. 4 overall last Thursday. Surprisingly, Charlie Johnson, the team's starter at left tackle last year, was similarly enthused, not feeling any resentment toward the rookie who's coming in to take his place.

Kalil's arrival means Johnson will slide to left guard, a move the 28-year-old veteran accepted.

"There is no animosity," Johnson said. "Look, I'm going to play. I feel that I'm one of the best five guys we have in our offensive line room. So I'm going to play. To me it doesn't matter where it's at."

Johnson expressed as much to Frazier and offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, reminding them that he spent the early parts of his career as a swing lineman. Plus, he said Wednesday, his biggest objective is to win.

"Last year was not very good," Johnson said. "I wasn't used to that. And I don't want it to happen again. So if they feel this is the best thing to make our team better, then I'm all for it."

'Ready to go'

As one of 10 Vikings who finished 2011 on injured reserve, Brinkley has felt added energy as he plows through the team's offseason conditioning program. Brinkley missed all of last season after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.

Now the stage has been cleared for Brinkley to become the starter at middle linebacker, though he might get a small push from free-agent signee Marvin Mitchell and seventh-round pick Audie Cole.

"I'm back totally, 100 percent. Ready to go," Brinkley said. "Any drill the coaches may think of, I can do it. I can do it to the best ability of anybody."

Roster moves

The Vikings waived offensive lineman Butch Lewis and tight end Daniel Hardy.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Cincinnati - M. Latos 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Boston - J. Kelly 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Detroit - K. Lobstein 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Miami - B. Penny
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
LA Angels - C. Wilson 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Texas - D. Holland 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Washington - D. Fister 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Arizona - W. Miley 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question