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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College Football Playoff projections: Let's not overthink this

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College Football Playoff projections: Let's not overthink this

Did Penn State play their way into the playoff? Michigan has to be in, right? Did Ohio State fall out of top four? Will Washington hang on?

Following all the action on Saturday, there was plenty of debate over who the top four teams should be. Most of the questions surround what to do with the three Big Ten teams contenders.

Ohio State and Michigan are clearly two of the best teams in the country, but neither of them won their division. That honor went to Penn State who also won the conference championship on Saturday, the same Penn State team who beat Ohio State but who also lost twice this season.

For the first time since the College Football Playoff started, there is a real, genuine debate over who the top four will be.

But not really.

SEE THE FINAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTION HERE

If you're just asking who the committee will put into the playoff, the committee actually tipped its hand last week with its rankings:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Washington
  5. Michigan
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Penn State

For everyone saying Michigan should be in the top four, well, they weren't in the top four last week, they didn't play this week, none of the four teams ahead of them did anything to hurt their respective resumes, so what makes anyone out there think the Wolverines are suddenly going to vault into the top four? It's not going to happen.

If Penn State were to make the playoff, it wouldn't be over Washington or Clemson who were already ranked ahead of the Nittany Lions and also won their respective conferences on Saturday. Neither team did anything to hurt themselves, so Penn State won't vault over them. Could they jump Ohio State who they beat head-to-head? That seems doubtful considering the committee declared the Buckeyes the second-best team in the country on Tuesday. That tells me the committee sees them as "unequivocally" one the top teams.

So debate away. When it comes to college football, that's what makes it so fun. But really, there's not that much to debate about. The committee showed last week who they thought the four best teams were and there's no reason to think that will change based on what we saw Saturday.

Find out who will make this year's playoff here with the final College Football Playoff projections.

Hokies can't contain Deshaun Watson in ACC Championship game loss

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USA Today Sports

Hokies can't contain Deshaun Watson in ACC Championship game loss

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Deshaun Watson bolstered his Heisman Trophy candidacy by passing for three touchdowns and running for two more to lead third-ranked Clemson to a 42-35 victory over No. 19 Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game Saturday night.

Winning consecutive league titles for the first time in 28 years likely will send the Tigers (12-1, No. 3 CFP) back to the four-team College Football Playoff for the second straight year, providing Watson with an opportunity to resolve unfinished business from last January, when his team lost to Alabama in the national championship game.

The Clemson star completed 23 of 34 passes for 288 yards, including TDs of 21 and 10 yards to Jordan Leggett and 15 yards to Hunter Renfrow for a 42-28 lead midway through the fourth quarter. He also rushed for 85 yards on 17 attempts for the Tigers. They've won back-to-back ACC titles for the first time since winning three straight from 1986-88.

Watson's Virginia Tech counterpart, Jerod Evans, was just as impressive. The 6-foot-3, 238-pound ran for two touchdowns and rallied the Hokies from a 21-point deficit to make it close at the end.

The Hokies (9-4, No. 23 CFP) scored on three straight possessions, trimming what was once a 35-14 deficit to seven points on Evans' 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter and Cam Phillips' 26-yard TD reception with just under 6 minutes remaining.

Virginia Tech got the ball back with a chance to force overtime. Evans drove his team to the Clemson 23, where the drive stalled when Tigers cornerback Cordrea Tankersley intercepted a pass on fourth-and-6.