Jerome Simpson's deactivation Sunday cost him a chance to help the Minnesota Vikings against the Washington Redskins. It also cost the receiver a pretty good chunk of change.
Simpson said Wednesday that every time he is deactivated from a game it costs him $60,000 in bonus money. The Vikings built that clause into his one-year contract because the former Cincinnati Bengal was coming off a drug arrest which eventually resulted in a three-game suspension to start the season.
The Vikings deactivated Simpson because of a back issue that caused numbness in one of his legs and limited him the previous week. Simpson was frustrated because he felt he was ready to play, but coach Leslie Frazier said he didn't see quite enough from him in practice last week to let him play against the Redskins.
"You lose $60,000, you'd be mad, too. You know?" Simpson said. "We just talked about it, and we're on the same page. I'm just a competitor, man. I just want to be out there on that field. Anytime something gets taken away from you you're obviously going to be kind of upset about it."
It's not just the money that had Simpson upset. He's the team's only viable deep threat on the perimeter, and he watched the Redskins cram 10 players within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage on most downs on Sunday to try to neutralize the short pass to Percy Harvin and the handoff to Adrian Peterson, the Vikings offense's two biggest weapons.
Peterson did not practice on Wednesday, with the Vikings preferring to let him rest his sprained left ankle. Frazier said it was just precautionary and he fully expects Peterson to play Sunday against Arizona.
Simpson, who practiced full-go, said he also feels a sense of urgency to get on the field because of the suspension that took three games away at the start of the season.
"Just because I missed the first three games and I'm just a competitor and I just want to be out there playing helping my guys any way I can," Simpson said.
Frazier said he understood the emotion and hopes to see Simpson practice fully this week and return for the game against Arizona on Sunday.
"The way he plays, he's an energetic guy who has such a passion for the game," Frazier said. "If you take some of that away, some of his elusiveness even after the catch, you affected his game. Just wanted to be smart, give him a little bit more time."
While the Vikings have maintained all along that it was a back issue that was causing the tightness and numbness in his leg, Simpson is insisting there is no issue with his back. He said he had some tightness in his calf the night before the Vikings' game against Tennessee, then woke up the next morning to find that it spread down his leg to his foot.
"It was very scary because I never experienced anything like it before," he said. "And then just to wake up with it out of the blue was frightening."
Quarterback Christian Ponder has struggled to get the ball down the field with Simpson out and veterans Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu unable to get separation from defensive backs on a consistent basis. And Ponder knows Simpson wants to get on the field.
"I think he's definitely disappointed he's not out there," Ponder said. "I don't know if he's frustrated. I think he understands that he's kind of got a weird injury. I think he'll be back this week and he's going to practice all week and we'll see if he's set for the game, but we'll be happy when he's back. I know he'll be happy when he's back."
Simpson said his injury has improved with treatment and he now feels 100 percent. The Vikings hope he can take out his frustrations on the Cardinals.
"I'm fired up regardless of the situation," Simpson said. "I try to take the same approach every week, just being fiery and moving on to that next game. So just coach deactivating me doesn't put like a sense of that makes you mad. That's nothing personal against him. He's just doing what's best for the team."
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