Vikings coach Leslie Frazier didn't come straight out and say it, but the team is preparing rookie Cordarrelle Patterson to start ahead of veteran receiver Jerome Simpson, who was formally charged today with two counts of DWI from his early Saturday morning arrest.
Frazier said the team is consulting with the league to see what it can and can't do with regard to any disciplinary measures beyond what the league can do per the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Frazier went on to say that Simpson is expected to be play on Sunday at Seattle, based on the team's understanding of the CBA after discussing the matter with the league office Wednesday morning. Asked if he would still be the team's starting receiver at the `X' position, Frazier hesitated.
"I don't know how we'll handle that part of it," Frazier said. "I do expect him to play. We'll make a decision on that part of it [starting] as we go forward."
Asked if Patterson, who played a season-high 39.6 percent of the offensive snaps in last Thursday's win over Washington, would get more reps with the first team in practice this week, Frazier said, "We intended to continue to get him more reps, and you saw it in the Washington game and the prior one, trying to get him more reps. That was a part of the plan anyway, and it definitely will be a part of the plan now, with some of the concerns that we have."
Frazier also voiced his disappointment in Simpson for the second time in three days.
"It’s very disappointing," Frazier said. "As I mentioned the other day, anytime something negative happens that creates a negative light on our organization, on our team, it’s a concerning matter. This case, it’s very disappointing. But it happens and you have to be able to adjust and deal with it, and not let it set you back as a team or an organization. But without question its disappointing.”
In other news:
- QB Christian Ponder (non-throwing shoulder) is expected to participate in individual drills only today. Frazier wouldn't say whether Matt Cassel or Josh Freeman would start if Ponder isn't able to play.
- NT Fred Evans (knee) isn't going to practice today, Fraizer said. Evans has missed the past two games.
- DT Kevin Williams will see some more time at nose tackle, but "probably won't start there" on Sunday, Frazier said. Williams played there because of injuries to other players last Thursday and responded with 2 1/2 sacks. "We’re probably going to get him a few snaps there," Frazier said. "Some of it depends on Letroy [Guion’s] health, along with Fred, and we’re not sure where Fred is at this point. Letroy seems to be getting better. He’ll practice today, so we’ll have a better idea. He did such a good job in that ballgame against Washington, we got to consider it. It may happen sometimes in that game on Sunday.”
- Jamaal Johnson-Webb, a rookie offensive tackle from Alabama A&M, was signed to the practice squad.