A day after the Vikings traded away Percy Harvin to the Seahawks in what quickly became an NFC West arms race -- and, in the meantime, left Minnesota with virtually no receivers on the roster -- the Vikings have begun the process of replacing him.
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The Vikings paid Simpson about $2 million last season following his breakout 50-catch, 725-yard, four-touchdown performance in 2011 with Cincinnati, but Simpson only totaled 26 catches for 274 yards and zero scores in 10 games last year. In part, that was because he missed the season's first three games due to an NFL suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
So, um, why are the Vikings re-signing him (besides the obvious conclusion that the team needs somebody who can catch passes from Christian Ponder)?
Writes the Star Tribune's Dan Wiederer: “Because on a one-year deal, Simpson again is in a prove-it situation. It's low risk for the Vikings with a guy who already has familiarity with both Ponder and the offensive system of coordinator Bill Musgrave. Furthermore, General Manager Rick Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier seem convinced that Simpson's 2012 struggles were greatly exacerbated by his back troubles, which for a stretch, made it difficult for Simpson to push off and reach top speed when running routes. But with Simpson's back problems no longer a concern, there's a belief he can again fulfill his potential.”
Still, Simpson has been in the league five years, and really, 2011 was his only relevant season. Even with the loss of Harvin, I'd be surprised if anybody is flipping over the Simpson re-signing.
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