Minnesota Vikings Ink Former Bengals Wideout Jerome Simpson

Tanner ThomsSenior Analyst IApril 24, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 24: Jerome Simpson #89 of the Cincinnati Bengals jumps over Daryl Washington #58 of the Arizona Cardinals for a 19-yard touchdown during first half action at Paul Brown Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On April 24, the Minnesota Vikings came to terms with former Cincinnati Bengals receiver and former second-round pick Jerome Simpson.

The Vikings, who once possessed one of the weakest receiving corps in the NFL, have now inked tight end John Carlson and Simpson, who are both expected to contribute right away.

Simpson, 26, was the 46th pick in the 2008 draft, as a phenom coming out of Coastal Carolina. However, Simpson's best days in college came during his junior year, when he totaled 61 catches and 16 touchdowns.

Since joining the Bengals, Simpson has primarily been known as an underachiever. There's no secret that he hasn't quite lived up to his second-round status, but he has flashed when given the time to shine.

Simpson's best season in the pros came last year, when Simpson recorded 50 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns, which were all career highs.

Simpson posted that kind of numbers with rookie Andy Dalton at quarterback and A.J. Green receiving the majority of Dalton's passes.

Simpson, however, isn't known for putting up big numbers. He's best known for having arguably the play of the year, when he flipped into mid-air at the goal line, while landing perfectly on his feet and recording the touchdown.

Unfortunately, Simpson is also known for being the guy who had two pounds of marijuana shipped to his house in 2011.

Since then, Simpson has been charged, sentenced to 15 days in jail and suspended for three games by the NFL.

Fortunately for the Vikings, Simpson's suspension of only three games is very tolerable. There were some that expected Simpson to receive an eight- to 10-game ban.

There's a good chance that Simpson would still be looking for a job had he not gotten off relatively easy for his crime.

At only 26 and not surrounded by a bunch of talent at receiver, Simpson will have plenty of chances to flourish on the field. There's even talk that he will be the No. 2 receiver, opposite of Percy Harvin, when his suspension is over after Week 3.

While I wouldn't buy into that deep of talk, there's no denying that Simpson will make an impact with his new team. With Simpson being so excited to reinvent himself, there's a strong chance that we may finally see the true emergence of Jerome Simpson.

At 6'2", 195 pounds, Simpson can play at flanker or in the slot. Truthfully, I wouldn't expect him to stay at just one specific spot in 2012. The Vikings are known for shifting their wideouts around, and this next season won't be any different.

If he's able to keep his head on straight and continue his positive attitude, there's no reason why Simpson can't leap Jenkins for the No. 2 receiver spot.

Details on how much Simpson will be making in 2012 has yet to be addressed, but the deal is for just the one year, which makes it a "prove yourself" deal.

I'm very excited to see what Simpson can do on and off the field. It appears as though he's very focused on turning both his life and career around.

Welcome to Minnesota, Jerome Simpson.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TannerThoms


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