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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Max Scherzer absolutely dominates Padres, piles up 13 strikeouts

Max Scherzer absolutely dominates Padres, piles up 13 strikeouts

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer allowed three hits over 8 2/3 innings, Bryce Harper and Michael A. Taylor hit two-run homers and the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 5-1 on Friday night.

Trea Turner added a solo homer and a double for Washington.

Scherzer (5-3) struck out a season-high 13. He allowed a single to Austin Hodges in the second, Ryan Schimpf's solo homer in the fourth and Allen Cordoba's single in the ninth, throwing 108 pitches, 81 for strikes

Scherzer, who tossed a season-low five innings in a loss to Atlanta last time out, retired 14 straight before Cordoba's single. After a walk to Yangervis Solarte, acting manager Chris Speier visited the mound, but he momentarily left Scherzer in.

However, after a strikeout and a hit batter, Speier called on Koda Glover who struck out pinch-hitter Hunter Renfroe to pick up his fourth save.

With Washington leading 3-1 in the seventh, Harper hit a towering shot into the third deck off reliever Kirby Yates, his 15th of the season.

After Schimpf's homer had tied it 1-1, Taylor quickly regained the lead for Washington when he homered with Matt Wieters aboard in the bottom of the inning.

Since taking over for injured center fielder Adam Lind on April 29, Taylor is hitting .307 (27 for 88) with five doubles, three triples, three homers and 10 RBIs.

San Diego starter Luis Perdomo (0-2) allowed three runs and six hits over six innings. He struck out six and walked two.

In the bottom of the first, Turner sent a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center field the Nationals' first leadoff homer of the season. It was the third of Turner's career.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: OF Manuel Margot, who left Wednesday's game with right calf soreness, was in a walking boot. Manager Andy Green said the boot is a precaution for now. "Becoming increasingly likely that it's a DL stint, but he's active tonight," Green said. . RHP Carter Capps (Tommy John surgery) threw on the side Friday. "There's talk of facing hitters again on Monday or Tuesday," Green said.

Nationals: An MRI on OF Chris Heisey confirmed he has a ruptured right biceps tendon. However, he will attempt to rehab the injury without surgery and could return in a relatively short time. Heisey was on the field during batting practice, shagging fly balls in the outfield.

INSPEIERED LEADERSHIP

With manager Dusty Baker away this weekend to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in California, bench coach Speier is the acting manager. Asked before the game about Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy being out the lineup, Speier deadpanned: "Actually, Zimmerman had a whiffle ball accident with his daughter, sprained his right wrist and Murph's back is blown out." He quickly added: "Just a day off."

UP NEXT

Padres: LHP Clayton Richards (3-5, 4.31) is 1-3 in 10 career appearances, six starts, against the Nationals with a 3.56 ERA

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-1, 3.28) faces his hometown team for the seventh time in his career. He is 5-1 with a 3.50 ERA against San Diego.

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Kevin Durant says don't blame him for lopsided NBA Playoffs

Kevin Durant says don't blame him for lopsided NBA Playoffs

Basketball fans got what they wanted with an NBA Finals rematch between LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, but the road to get there was mostly a snore. As Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk broke down on Friday, the NBA Playoffs so far have been historically lopsided.

Cavs-Warriors was not only a foregone conclusion, but their dominance through the first three rounds contributed to the fewest pre-Finals games since the NBA expanded the first round to seven games. And by average win margin, it also ranked among the least competitive playoffs ever.

Part of that, one could argue, is due to Kevin Durant joining the Warriors. In doing so, he depleted the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were one of the league's best teams, and consolidated power on the Warriors. They have four stars between Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green when a lot of teams around the NBA have zero.

Durant shouldn't be blamed for all of it, of course. James joining the Cavs and teaming up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love had its domino effect. And a lot of teams just plain stink.

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Durant issued a strong defense of himself in that regard. He thinks it's unwarranted to say he's the biggest reason. Here is what he told USA Today Sports:

“Like I'm the reason why (expletive) Orlando couldn't make the playoffs for five, six years in a row?” he said. “Am I the reason that Brooklyn gave all their picks to Boston? Like, am I the reason that they're not that good (laughs)? I can't play for every team, so the truth of the matter is I left one team. It's one more team that you probably would've thought would've been a contender. One more team. I couldn't have made the (entire) East better. I couldn't have made everybody (else) in the West better.”

He's right about the Magic and Nets. Yikes, are they terrible. But him leaving OKC did remove one of the best potential matchups in the NBA Playoffs. Their seven-game series against the Warriors last summer was a memorable one and we'll never see it again.

Whether Durant is to blame or not, the playoffs have been anything but great. Ironically, the Wizards' two series against the Hawks and Celtics were probably the best, or at least the most eventful.

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