The Vikings went into the offseason knowing that they needed more pieces on offense to help Christian Ponder in 2012.
They signed tight end John Carlson as a free agent in hopes of giving Ponder a reliable option and drafted Matt Kalil to help keep Ponder upright long enough to deliver passes. They also drafted a pair of Arkansas wide receivers — Greg Childs and Jarius Wright — to flesh out a thin position group. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave sounds most excited about wide receiver Jerome Simpson, signed as a free agent after playing out his contract with the Bengals.
“We need somebody with juice like that playing the split end,” Musgrave said, via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I’m really looking forward to Jerome and our quarterback starting to jell together. We need to be able to count on somebody from our split end position winning consistently versus man coverage. With the way I think we can run the football, defenses are going to try to take away the run. And we want to make them pay for that through the air.”
Simpson had 50 catches for 725 yards last season, numbers that would have made him a solid number two to Percy Harvin last season. Simpson’s ability to get deep and make plays after the catch make him a perfect fit for what the Vikings need.
The only drawback is the three-game suspension Simpson has to serve at the start of the season. That makes it all the more important for Simpson and Ponder to jell together as much as possible over the summer so that they aren’t starting from square one once Simpson is able to get on the field.