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SPOTLIGHT
Don Banks
September 03, 2012
Jerome Simpson
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September 03, 2012

Spotlight

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Jerome Simpson

Wide receiver

With his penchant for acrobatics, Simpson was a must-see at Vikings camp, though the new big-play receiver won't be visible for the season's first three games as he serves a suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Jumpin' Jerome is an intriguing talent who signed a low-risk, one-year, $2 million deal despite the impending suspension, which followed a 15-day jail term as part of a felony drug conviction.

As a Bengal in 2011, Simpson, 26, caught a career-best 50 passes for 725 yards and made a claim to Play of the Year for his spectacular front-flip TD over Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington in Week 16. But he's no mere sideshow in Minnesota. He'll be expected to stretch the field, opening up room underneath for fellow receiver Percy Harvin and tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson. In the preseason Simpson quickly became one of Christian Ponder's favorite targets ("We're having fun finding out what we can do," says Simpson); he helped set up a TD against the Bills by catching an underneath pass and hurdling a tackler for a 33-yard gain. Simpson gives the Vikes their best deep threat since Sidney Rice left before the '11 season, and he appears ready to repay them for giving him a second chance.

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