Vikings WR Simpson frustrated with deactivation

Vikings WR Simpson frustrated with deactivation

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) 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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With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.

Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.

Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards. 

The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.

Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.

It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade. 

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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In a draft deep at CB, taking one early could be Ravens' best move

In a draft deep at CB, taking one early could be Ravens' best move

The Ravens may need to rethink their draft strategy regarding cornerbacks. They haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first three rounds since 2011, when they took Jimmy Smith with the 27th overall pick.

Smith is still the Ravens’ best corner. However, he has been plagued by injuries in recent years, and lack of cornerback depth has become a glaring weakness for the Ravens, in a league that features many explosive wide receivers.

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According to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., this year’s draft is loaded with talented corners. With the 16th overall pick, the Ravens can address their need at cornerback with someone who might be talented enough to start as a rookie.

“There’s a lot of corners in this draft that are going to go in the first round,” Kiper said during a recent conference call.

Many believe Marshon Lattimore of Ohio St. will be the first cornerback off the board, and will likely be gone before the Ravens can grab him. In his first mock draft, Kiper had Lattimore going No. 6 to the Jets.

However, the list of top-rated corners that could be available for the Ravens at No. 16 includes Marlon Humphrey of Alabama, Sidney Jones of Washington, Jourdan Lewis of Michigan, Teez Tabor of Florida, Cordrea Tankersley of Clemson, and Quincy Wilson of Florida.

The Ravens grabbed a promising corner in the fourth round last year in Tavon Young, who had a strong rookie season. But the Ravens may not have the luxury of waiting to take a cornerback this spring. Instead of taking the best player available at No. 16, the Ravens will have to consider taking the best corner available.

Related: Depth at running back reduces need for Ravens to trade up in draft