WR Jerome Simpson, Free agent
HT: 6-2, WT: 199, Born: 2-4-1986, College: Coastal Carolina, Drafted: Round 2
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Simpson is going to be the #3 WR in Minnesota this season, and will a lot of his targets to Cordarrelle Patterson compared to last season. But he could still see a few balls each game and might even sneak into the end zone a couple times. He’ll have limited value in deeper leagues as a WR4 or WR5 type of player.
Simpson’s playing time continues to shrink as the Vikings focus on getting Patterson more involved in the offense. As the fourth or fifth receiving option on a team that isn’t going to throw much more than 3000 yards this season, Simpson struggles with many one and two catch games for minimal yards and never sees the end zone.
Simpson actually had a good start to last season, but faded down the stretch with just five catches for 56 yards over his last three games. As Patterson steps into the #2 receiving slot this year, Simpson’s role continues to shrink. Since he isn’t really a red zone target (just eight career touchdowns), his one and two catch games won’t do much for fantasy owners except in leagues that are very deep.
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2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - ast year Jerome Simpson was supposed to be the answer for a vertical threat, but a suspension and injury hampered that. His 2013 started just as badly as he had a pass bounce off his hands and right to a Lions defender. He was very lucky Ndamukong Suh was called for a Low Block which negated a touchdown by the Lions on the pick. After that, though, Simpson showed great chemistry with Christian Ponder and had an outstanding game. The next target he had after the interception was one where he made a tremendous leaping catch on a 44 yard bomb, and managed to draw a pass interference penalty from cornerback Chris Houston. Simpson also made a great grab on a 47 yard bomb in the third quarter. Simpson had excellent separation on his coverage and Ponder unleashed a huge, arcing bomb that was just a tad too long. Simpson fully extended his body and laid out to make the catch, holding on despite a jarring collision with the ground. It was a very tough catch to make, one where he was looking at the ball upside down as it sailed over his head and showed off Simpson's athleticism and hands. While Simpson may lose some targets to Greg Jennings eventually, right now it looks like he is finally providing the value he was supposed to last season.
Week 2 - After a huge Week 1, Jerome Simpson's numbers came back down to Earth, in part because Greg Jennings seemed much more comfortable as well as because quarterback Christian Ponder was literally staring him down in the first half. That allowed the Bears' corners to cover Simpson pretty well, picking off one pass and nearly grabbing another one off a deflection by linebacker Lance Briggs. On the interception, caught by cornerback Tim Jennings and returned for a touchdown, Simpson ran a short sideline route. Jennings gave him a cushion and just watched the quarterback, nimbly stepping in front of the receiver as the ball arrived. Ponder did go back to Simpson for two deep pass attempts in the third quarter, completing a 15 yard pass with four minutes left which Simpson then turned into a 37 yard completion. Simpson did a great job turning upfield and protecting the ball as he was tackled by five defenders, all going after the football.
Week 3 - The very first pass thrown towards Jerome Simpson was a bad one, which was too low, tipped and then intercepted. Even if it wasn’t tipped, at normal speed it seems to have been thrown way behind Simpson, though slow-motion replays are a bit less clear. Simpson was later targeted on a deep pass, but that was well underthrown and late and another which was flat and well behind him on a sideline route where he was wide open. Simpson had to fight off two defenders for the ball and couldn’t come down with the ball on the first one and it was almost physically impossible for him to contort his body in such a way as to catch the second. In the fourth quarter Ponder overthrew Simpson again, this time so much so that the deep safety couldn’t even reach it for the interception. Unlike Greg Jennings, Simpson found himself open more than once - it was just his quarterback who couldn’t make the connection.
Week 4 - The first three passes Matt Cassel threw to Jerome Simpson—all of which were caught—were short slants which seemed to set up the fourth target, a deep bomb down the middle of the field which was just out of Simpson‘s reach. Only one of the three passes was well-thrown, with two of them forcing Simpson to stop and jump up to catch the ball. The other one he caught in stride and it resulted in a 13 yard catch. After the deep attempt, Simpson was the target on an ill-conceived throw which should have been picked off by Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. Taylor played off Simpson and let Cassel think he had time to throw to his receiver, but Taylor was there too quickly and should have caught the ball himself. That was the beginning of a stretch of passes which either were completely off or forced Simpson to contort his body in such a way as to make a catch tougher than it need to be, the result being the receiver couldn’t haul it in. The two seemed to regain their chemistry in the fourth quarter when Cassel hit Simpson in stride, allowing him to gain an extra 30 yards after a 20 yard catch and then two key receptions that either gave the team a first down or put them right on top of the marker. Simpson contributed in more than just receiving—he recovered what could have been a disastrous fumble by Cassel which not only let the Vikings retain possession but gave them a first down.
Week 6 - The target of mostly shorter passes, Jerome Simpson made some nice catches but was only targeted sporadically by Matt Cassel and only was targeted once on a deeper ball, which he dropped. He was also the target on a badly thrown ball which required him to jump and extend his body just to get a fingertip on it. Simpson is pretty inconsistent right now, but a lot of that is on the quarterback. It’s hard to say if it will get better when the team makes a move to Josh Freeman but right now the two vertical receivers—Simpson and Greg Jennings—just aren’t getting free vertically.
Week 7 - As with virtually every other wide receiver, Simpson saw the bulk of his targets sailing high or off-target and suffered from a lack of time with Josh Freeman since the quarterback arrived in Minnesota. One of the few times Freeman threw a good ball his direction, Simpson dropped it. The pass was a potential game-changer since it was an easy touchdown had Simpson caught it. Overall, it was hard to blame Simpson for most of the issues he had though—the simple fact was that Freeman just couldn’t deliver the ball.
Week 8 - Packers cornerback Tramon Williams was all over Jerome Simpson during the game and so quarterback Christian Ponder wisely avoided him. The only time Simpson got free was when he wasn’t covered by Williams near the end of the game when the Packers were in zone coverage just defending the deep ball. On that play, an 18-yard pass across the middle, Simpson found room between the linebackers dropping into coverage and the deep safety.
Week 9 - Amazingly, all five of Jerome Simpson’s targets came in the first quarter—after that Christian Ponder just stopped looking in his direction. Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick was all over Simpson for much of the day, making every pass that did come in his direction an adventure. Sometimes the ball was simply overthrown by Ponder, while other times Scandrick hampered Simpson’s ability to get to the ball or even get open. Simpson did have one great catch on a curl route near the end of the first quarter. On the play, Simpson was covered by cornerback Brandon Carr. Simpson used his body to push Carr back from the ball, a wobbly pass by Ponder that seemed to move very slowly. Carr tried hard to wrest the ball from Simpson’s grip, but not only did Simpson keep hold of it, he was able to shed a tackle and drag another player an extra couple of yards.
Week 10 - Since Christian Ponder returned in Week 8, Simpson has seen just 11 targets from Ponder. He had six on Thursday night, but half of those were from Matt Cassel. In the three games not started by Ponder, Simpson saw 27 targets. It appears to partly be because of Ponder’s “one-read” tendency as well as Greg Jennings becoming more comfortable with the offense. Simpson and Ponder did hook up several times early, but it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Simpson saw a cluster of targets, including a nice 25-yard reception. On the play, which took place on 3rd-and-10, Simpson ran a simple “Go” route, getting a step on the cornerback. Cassel delivered the perfect ball, hitting Simpson in stride right between the corner and an incoming safety. Simpson took a big hit, but did a good job holding onto the ball while he was tackled. Overall it was a quiet week for Simpson, though he looked good in the fourth with Cassel throwing the ball to him, but so far his targets from Ponder seem to be inconsistent week-to-week.
Week 11 - The quarterback chaos has killed whatever momentum Jerome Simpson had, but his recent DWI may also be a reason for the minimal targets this week. On his one catch, he tried to break a tackle by Clinton McDonald but failed. His other target was a deep pass which wasn’t caught but Simpson drew a pass interference penalty.
Week 12 - The season continues to be a quiet one for Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson, as the targets have increasingly gone elsewhere in the passing offense. He made the most of his chances though, including an impressive catch in the middle of the second quarter. On the play, Simpson ran a seam route along the sideline, and Ponder delivered the ball just a little short. Simpson adjusted his speed and then leaped up into the air, over the defender, to get the ball. Another time, Simpson ran a crossing route and made a really nice diving catch, taking a shot to the head as he did so and drawing a 15-yard flag. Both of his catches drew flags, in fact, and helped extend drives as much as the actual receptions did.
Week 13 - Both Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel seemed to be looking for Jerome Simpson on Sunday, though neither had a tremendous success in doing so. In the first half, Ponder kept over-throwing the ball when he delivered it to Simpson—the passes were too high or wide or otherwise off. The one pass the two connected on—a 32-yard reception in the early second quarter—Simpson had to make a tremendous effort on to catch. The throw was a bit high and away from Simpson, who had Bears safety Chris Conte coming over his back to make a play. Simpson hung onto the ball and then fought off two defenders to gain three more yards. After Ponder left the game due to a concussion, Cassel entered and had a little better luck. The first pass was into double coverage, but the second target found Simpson with a step on his coverage. Cassel saw this and delivered the ball where only Simpson would catch it, which the receiver did. Several plays later, Cassel found Simpson wide open down the field for another big gain of 24 yards. Overall, Simpson had a game very much indicative of his year—up and down, and very inconsistent, but scattered with some big plays at big moments.
Week 14 - As with just about all the wide receivers, Jerome Simpson struggled to get any separation for most of the game. While targeted a few times deep, Simpson was blanketed and—especially in the wintry conditions—couldn’t come down with the ball. The few times he was able to get some space to work turned out to be big moments—particularly his 8-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth. The Vikings had driven down the field and were at the 8 yard line on third down. On the play, Simpson ran a route into the end zone, and then across. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith thought he was going to get some help across the middle but didn’t and Simpson was left alone. Quarterback Matt Cassel’s pass was a bit high, but Simpson did a good job extending for it and keeping both feet in for the score. Simpson then made a huge catch while the Vikings were again trailing with just two minutes to go in the fourth. On this play, Simpson got wide open on a slant route. The ball was again just a bit high, but Simpson was able to catch it in stride and gain some more yards, even fighting for a few extra yards. The coverage was playing well off the ball, so Simpson didn’t have to deal with the man coverage which he had struggled with earlier. The catch set up another score, a big run for a touchdown by running back Toby Gerhart to retake the lead.
Week 15 - Simpson didn’t see much work on Sunday, though both of his targets were end zone opportunities. On the first, he ran a shallow crossing route in the end zone but Matt Cassel overthrew him. Either Cassel expected him to be deeper or it was merely a ball Cassel felt needed to be thrown away. On the second pass, Simpson ran a fade route to the right rear corner of the end zone. Simpson got a hand on it but was unable to come down with the ball which was just a bit out of his reach. He did draw a pass interference penalty. That flag extended the series, which resulted in a touchdown by running back Matt Asiata.
Week 16 - Like everyone else, Jerome Simpson struggled to reel in many catches because quarterback Matt Cassel was just plain bad. On Simpson’s very first target, Cassel underthrew him on a deep ball—one where Simpson was double –covered as well. The interception was a bit freaky—the ball bounced off the helmet of Bengals corner Dre Kirkpatrick and into safety George Iloka’s hands. Still it was a badly thrown pass that seemed to have no chance of ending up where it was supposed to go. Simpson was hurt on the next target as Cassel threw the ball way too high and Simpson was upended as he jumped up to try and make a play. Simpson returned and finally got a catch, before being the target of Cassel’s second interception of the day, this time by linebacker Rey Maualuga who the quarterback somehow didn’t see in the passing lane.
Week 17 - Simpson continues to be a baffling fit for the Vikings offense, though that seems to be more a product of a lack of consistent direction in the offense than Simpson himself. It certainly didn’t help that he had frequent changes in quarterback. Still, two years into his tenure as a Vikings receiver, he has yet to consistently provide the vertical threat he has been paid to be. Matt Cassel had a hard time syncing up with him Sunday, constantly throwing passes just a bit off, including one down the right side of the field in the first quarter where Cassel decided Simpson would expect a back-shoulder throw when the route was a deep vertical route. Simpson was also the target on safety Louis Delmas’ second quarter interception in the end zone. Almost from the snap, Cassel stared down Simpson, never looking the defense off. Delmas was lurking in the passing lane and picked off the ball.