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 mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Frazier: `He's not the same Jerome we had prior to the injury'

Posted by: Mark Craig under Injury report, Lions, NFC, Leslie Frazier, Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin Updated: November 7, 2012 - 1:58 PM

Receiver Jerome Simpson wasn't on last week's injury report and had full participation in practice despite being on the injury report the week before. But coach Leslie Frazier made it perfectly clear that this is not the same Jerome Simpson he saw prior to a lower left leg injury he experienced in early October.

"He's not where he was prior to that injury," Frazier said. "He's not. You look at the tape and you know that. He's still able to give us some things, but he's not where he was before the injury, for sure."

After serving a three-game suspension to start the season, Simpson returned against the Lions on Sept. 30 at Ford Field. He caught only four passes for 50 yards, but one of them was a 27-yarder in which he leapt over a defender to grab for a first down late in the game. He also forced two deep pass interference calls. The following week, he woke up the day of the Tennessee game with weakness and numbness in his lower left leg.

After being held without a catch in that game, it was determined that Simpson's problem was related to a back issue. Simpson was inactive the following week at Washington and has just four catches for 59 yards in three games since then.  

Frazier said the injury affects Simpson's explosiveness.

"Just being able to push off on certain cuts," Frazier said. "It does affect him. And just being able to sprint and open up the way he was before the injury. It's taken a little away from his game. He's still able to give us some things. But it has definitely affected him.

"It's more of the explosiveness. He doesn't have pain. That's not the issue with him. If you recall when we did get him back for that Detroit game, that leaping catch. That's like a trademark of his. The leap that he had in I think it was the preseason game against Buffalo, the guy comes to tackle him and he leaps over the top of him. [The injury] has taken a little of his explosiveness away. When that will come back all together, the doctors can't tell me. He's still giving us something, but it's not the same Jerome we had prior to the injury."

Other highlights from Frazier:

  • On receiver Percy Harvin's sprained left ankle: "Percy's doing better. He won't practice today. We'll take it day to day and see how he's doing tomorrow. But he's improving."
  • Nose tackle Letroy Guion won't practice because of turf toe that he suffered before halftime of Sunday's loss in Seattle. Frazier said backup Fred Evans is capable of playing more reps if Guion can't play. Frazier also said there are plans to have other players work at the nose but he wouldn't elaborate. Frazier said Guion suffered the turf toe injury right before the half. "It affected him, particularly in that last series [of the game]," Frazier said. "He struggled. We probably should have gotten him out of there, looking back on it. It definitely affected him in that ballgame late. He played the entire second half with that toe bothering. Early on in the second half, he did OK. But as we got more snaps, it got worse."
  • Tight end John Carlson, who missed the past two games because of a concussion, will return to practice today.
  • On A.J. Jefferson stepping in for injured starting cornerback Chris Cook in last week's game: "I thought he did a good job. I thought he did a good job in coverage. He tackled well. He moved around well. He held his own in that game, for the most part. We're pleased with some of the things he did" As for what went into the decision to have the 6-1 Jefferson fill Cook's role while the 5-10 rookie Josh Robinson stayed in his nickelback role, Frazier said, "We like what Josh is doing in the nickel and we wanted to keep him in that role for now and let him continue to progress. We knew that A.J. had experience playing an NFC West opponent from his past [with Arizona] and had some familiarity with some of the things they did. And his size and his experience were factors. We'll probably keep that rotation going for now. A.J. did a good job. No slight to Josh. He's doing some good things for our defense right now."
  • Frazier said during his press conference that he was going to meet with the players on his leadership committee before today's practice. He said he wants to talk about making sure the players aren't too down because of the current two-game losing streak. "That's important," Frazier said. "We're not in a bad spot, if you can understand and see the big picture. You just have to be able to see the big picture. If we do what we're supposed to do on Sunday, we still control our destiny in so many ways. I want to remind my guys of that."
  • On what Adrian Peterson has accomplished since coming off his left knee reconstruction: "I don't know if words can express how impressed myself and everyone is in what Adrian has accomplished. ... To play the way he has played, you wouldn't even know he's coming off major knee surgery. It seems that now he's even getting stronger, as if he was never injured. I don't know if words can describe the admiration I have for what he's accomplished. And there's still so much football to be played. ... He has said different times, `I'm going to be better.' And you say to yourself, `How could he be better than he already was. He was already the best back in the league.' But the way he's improving, who knows what's going to happen the rest of the season. But he's been an inspiration for everybody."

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