Rick Spielman's blueprint for free agency wasn't apparent to many Viking fans in March, but I think it's pretty clear now.
And that blueprint looks something like this: Target a bunch of guys who might be devalued by the market, sign them to relatively cheap one-year deals (except for John Carlson) and then see what happens.
So I'm good with the Vikings signing Jerome Simpson today, even if he will miss the first three games due to an NFL suspension. Just like the cornerback position, the Vikings need to add depth and explore any option that might enhance what is still a poor wide receiving corps.
Simpson - even if he simply matches his production with the Bengals in 2011 (50 catches, 725 yards and four touchdowns) - does that. He provides competition for Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, Stephen Burton and the rest of the unit. No one other than Percy Harvin should feel they have a job locked up with the Vikings. All of these players will be motivated to play their best at all times.
It's also important to remember Simpson caught just 21 passes in his first three seasons in the NFL. He doesn't have a track record as a successful NFL wide receiver, and he might never develop into one. But the Vikings were 3-13 last season and they are in a position where they can afford to find out what Simpson can become.
I also hope this does not stop the Vikings (and I don't think it will) from drafting a wide receiver in the second or third rounds of this week's draft if there is one they like. The club still needs a guy who can not only line up on the outside - as Aromashodu did much of last year - but one who can make plays there on a consistent basis. That player might be Simpson or it might be someone like Alshon Jeffrey, Rueben Randle or Stephen Hill. I'm pretty confident that player wasn't on the Vikings roster yesterday.