Can I start with the pot jokes now? Too easy, you say? You readers are no fun at all.
Simpson's an intriguing guy, though. He's 25 had 10 catches of 20 yards or more last season and three catches of 40 yards or more.
The Vikings wide receiver situation is so bad that even if you don't think Simpson's production last year was anything but slightly above average, he's worth a look because beyond Percy Harvin the Vikings have the slightly above average Michael Jenkins and the definitely below average Devin Aromashodu as the other receivers who figure to get a lot of snaps. Simpson is a young player who just came off his first season as a starter. He can get better. Plus, he can do this.
The NFL released its 2012 schedule this week and the Vikings – as expected – won't be playing on prime time much.
I'm good with that. I live in Edmonton, Alberta these days and it's in the Mountain time zone, so I like the 11 a.m kickoffs. By 2:30 the game is over and I'm free to get other stuff accomplished – unless the Vikings lose. Then I'm a big grouch (I was grouchy on Sundays a lot last season).
Games that are played at 2:30, and, especially, those Sunday and Monday night games that start at 6:30 p.m., screw everything up for me. It seems like you've got to wait forever for the game to come and it's close to bedtime for my six-year-old daughter, so those preparations always get in the way of watching the game. I have to pause the action and wait till the bedtime routine is done before I can watch the game again. It ruins the flow. The Vikings have also sucked playing prime time night games of late. I much rather the Vikings play at 11 a.m. every Sunday.
Tackling (or lack thereof)
Football Outsiders had a piece this week looking at defenders who were responsible for the most broken tackles in the league in 2011. We shouldn't be surprised that the Vikings starting strong safety last year, Jamarca Sanford, makes the top 10 in two dubious categories – most tackles missed and missed tackles rate.
That certainly jibes with what I saw while watching him play last year. It's more proof that Sanford should be limited to playing special teams and not much more. But if the season started today for the Vikings, he would still be the starting strong safety.
Sports Illustrated NFL guru Peter King has put out his mock draft. He thinks, like everybody else, that the Vikings will take USC left tackle Matt Kalil, but that the team should take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne because the Vikes play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford. Each guy can sling the ball pretty good. King's view is that the Vikings need to draft more guys who can actually cover a wide receiver.
That makes total sense. But improving the league's worst (in my opinion) pass blocking offensive line should come first if the Vikings keep the #3 overall draft pick. Christian Ponder's best games last season (against Green Bay, Carolina and Denver) came when the line somehow kept opposing pass rushers at bay. Give Ponder some time in the pocket, and a couple of new weapons to throw to, and he should drastically improve his play in his second season. And that would be the greatest gift fans of the team could realistically expect to receive in 2012. The Vikings have already taken steps to improve the line by releasing guard Anthony Herrera and signing guard Geoff Schwartz. Drafting Kalil would be a giant leap forward in that process.
Greg Doyel think the Vikings should pick Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the #3 overall draft choice.
Doyel loves doing this. Writing bombastic columns with an "I know better than you" tone that he knows will incite a bunch of angry reader comments calling him an idiot – or worse.
But is Trent Richardson really better than Adrian Peterson? My fear is that he will be. But I'm not talking about Richardson being better than the Adrian Peterson of 2007-2011, but rather the Adrian Peterson we will see in 2012 and beyond after coming back from blowing out his left knee.
It's been a real pleasure watching Peterson do the things he does for five seasons. But if he comes back from the knee injury a much lesser player, one of the real joys of watching football on Sundays will be lost for me.
What PV said.