Delayed Impact: How Jerome Simpson's 3-Game Suspension Affects the Vikings
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By now you've heard the news that wide receiver Jerome Simpson was officially handed down the three-game suspension we all knew was coming. He'll also lose another pay check on top of that.
With that finally settled, we can now talk about what this really means for the Minnesota Vikings and their offense.
When you see a Delayed Impact article, it's a deeper look beyond the news into the aftermath of the news—a careful breakdown of what reports mean beyond the basics.
First off all, it's a blow to Christian Ponder—there are no two ways about that. Even if we knew it was coming, it's rough now that the reality sets in.
Simpson has looked good in workouts so far and will get his reps in minicamps, probably looking great during them as well.
He won't be there Week 1 though, and that's going to make life more difficult for a quarterback still trying to get his feet.
Behind Percy Harvin is an underperforming, often injured receiver in Michael Jenkins, an underwhelming guy in Devin Aromashodu, a pair of rookies from Arkansas in Jarius Wright and Greg Childs (who is also hurt) and a ton of warm bodies.
That's not a big improvement in terms of help for Ponder or Harvin, for that matter. Instead of Harvin seeing less double teams, things will remain the same.
Luckily for Ponder, Harvin has the ability to have big games even when covered thoroughly.
Still, it's not the change the team was hoping for when they signed Simpson, even if they knew the outcome was likely going to be this anyway.
This does end up being a golden opportunity for guys like Jenkins, Aromashodu and the rookies. If I'm a betting man (and I have been known to dabble), I would lean towards Childs or Wright.
Wright is a fluid, savvy route runner with good hands who excels underneath but has the ability to play all over the field. Childs is a huge target with better speed than people expect, and he knows how to use his frame to fight off defenders for the ball.
Both players have very good ability to gain yards after the catch. If Childs can stay healthy, he's the guy who adds something different to this offense—even with Simpson on the field. So it makes a lot of sense that he would see action anyway, while Wright will get his chance early on during the suspension as he is more of a vertical threat.
We've seen what Jenkins can do when healthy and Aromashodu in general, and neither is particularly impressive.
The rookies will make the most of their time to shine. While it is unlikely they will displace Simpson, it's quite likely they will carve out a larger role in the offense and could push Jenkins and Aromashodu aside as a result.
Which is the bright side of the suspension—if the Vikings come out the other side having discovered two good weapons, that will have a huge positive impact on the year as a whole.
Still, the short term could be rough for the offense and Ponder, as he will be without his best weapon. Hopefully the rest of the receivers can step up and make a difference to make up for Simpson's absence.
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