Vikings Have to Adjust Expectation for Simpson & More NFC North News

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 21: Jamell Fleming #23 of the Arizona Cardinals tackles Jerome Simpson #81 of the Minnesota Vikings during the game on October 21, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Jerome Simpson hasn't been the vertical threat the Vikings were hoping for, but it's not a simple matter of having him run fast in a straight line according to Ben Goessling of the Pioneer Press.

It's sort of a perfect storm of issues for Simpson, one part injury, one part being behind due to suspension and, frankly, one part not being the receiver some thought he was based on his 2011 numbers.

That isn't to say he's a waste of money or a bust—just that perhaps the expectations around him need to be adjusted.

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is quoted in Goessling's article as saying they need to have him run a wider variety of routes than they have.

Which brings it back to him still catching up to the rest of the offense.

The other thing here, and the article isn't talking about it, but let's be honest—Christian Ponder is much better off right now with a short, conservative game plan.

Can they stretch the field? Sure. Should they? To an extent.

Ponder will get to a point where he is better downfield, but he has had issues with pressure and some bad choices. The last thing the Vikings want is to push him into a position he is not comfortable with yet.

When you have Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson, you really don't have to either.

Simpson's time will come—even if it isn't until late in the season or next year. He will grow with Ponder, and that takes time.

On to some more football news for the NFC North.


Chicago Bears

The staff at ESPN Chicago do their weekly 'Four Downs' and cover topics including whether Chris Johnson will run for 100 yards this weekend and if this weekend's game is a 'trap' game.

This defense would not be as potent as it is without middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, bum knee and all, according to Rick Telander of the Sun-Times.

Brad Biggs of The Tribune says the Bears are leery of Titans running back Chris Johnson for good reason.


Detroit Lions

Newly-acquired Lion Mike Thomas hopes to have an impact right away according to's Anwar Richardson.

Justin Durant looks forward to playing against his former teammates this Sunday says the Free Press' Dave Birkett.

The Detroit News' Josh Katzenstein reports on rookie Bill Bentley's shoulder surgery, which put him on injured reserve.


Green Bay Packers

Tom Silverstein writes at the Journal-Sentinel that the Packers' tight ends are getting heavily criticized due to drops and a lack of chemistry with Aaron Rodgers.  

Zach Kruse gives you some things to watch for in the Green Bay-Arizona game this sunday over at

Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin reports that injured Packers safety/cornerback/hot dog vendor Charles Woodson spoke at a rally this week supporting President Obama's re-election and pledging to donate $100,000 to Hurricane relief on the East Coast.

As an East Coaster, I appreciate the impulse. I'm lucky, I have power. A lot of folks don't, so if you have a chance and the means to donate, there are many folks who need it.


Minnesota Vikings

ESPN North Blog writer Kevin Seifert takes a look at what happened with Sidney Rice when he left the Vikings.

A deal for a wide receiver was never something the Vikings were focusing on at the trade deadline, according to Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500.

Dan Weiderer of the Star-Tribune says the Vikings must plug up the holes in the run defense with Marshawn Lynch stepping on the field Sunday.


Check out the B/R NFC North Facebook page—like us and keep up with everything NFC North on Bleacher Report.

Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.


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