Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Bill Musgrave says Jerome Simpson is 'the juice' the Vikings' offense needs

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier, Vikings draft Updated: May 29, 2012 - 8:38 AM

As last season wound to a close, a 3-13 disaster sucking almost every ounce of enthusiasm out of the Vikings’ locker room, head coach Leslie Frazier kept finding new reserves of optimism.

Specifically, Frazier sensed potential for an offensive resurgence in 2012, confident in the system of offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. Frazier repeatedly voiced his confidence in Musgrave and promised to get him additional ammunition.

“I know we’re going to have a quality offense once we get some other pieces in place and have a full offseason,” Frazier said the week before Christmas.

Well over the past three months, the Vikings have added to their offensive depth chart. And there may be no more important piece to the puzzle than receiver Jerome Simpson, signed just days before the draft began in April.

Yes, Matt Kalil, the team’s top draft choice, will be an invaluable addition, stabilizing the offensive line and giving quarterback Christian Ponder greater peace of mind. Yes, tight end John Carlson will help stretch opposing defenses and provide Ponder another reliable target. And yes, those two rookie receivers from Arkansas – Jarius Wright and Greg Childs – have shown flashes of potential.

But Simpson? He’s a speed threat on the outside, the top candidate to start at split end. He provides a dimension that the Vikings’ offense sorely lacked last season. He’s fast. He’s athletic. Best of all, he will be a significant deep threat.
I recently asked Musgrave about Simpson’s worth and the offensive coordinator immediately lit up.

“He’s just what the doctor ordered for the Viking offense,” Musgrave said. “He’s an explosive guy who can really adjust and adapt to the football. And it’s really fun watching him after the catch, which is a skill he demonstrated for the whole league last year when he was with Cincinnati.”

Simpson’s numbers with the Bengals in 2011: 50 catches, 725 yards, four touchdowns.

Even more impressive to Musgrave has been seeing Simpson’s speed firsthand.

“We need somebody with juice like that playing the split end,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to Jerome and our quarterback starting to jell together.”

That juice Musgrave raves about should be invaluable.

“We need to be able to count on somebody from our split end position winning consistently versus man coverage,” Musgrave said. “With the way I think we can run the football, defenses are going to try to take away the run. And we want to make them pay for that through the air.”


Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
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 NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




question of the day

Poll: What should the Vikings do with Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question