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)
When it came time for the Bengals to decide whether or not they were going to re-sign wide receiver Jerome Simpson, opinions were mixed on the matter. Simpson was facing some legal troubles (which ultimately led to a three-game suspension by the NFL), as well as some consistency issues on the field. The Bengals seemed tentatively interested, but the Vikings ultimately swooped him up to bolster their depleted receiver group.
The Bengals decided to go with the youth movement, opting for players like Armon Binns, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, in hopes of finding a replacement for Simpson and we are still waiting to see how that all plays out. The Vikings, however, are smitten with Simpson and seem to be excited about what they think he can do in their offense. The biggest beneficiary of Simpson's arrival is second-year quarterback Christian Ponder, and he didn't hide his admiration for Simpson in a recent interview.
On how Simpson has looked at recent OTAs, Ponder said:
"Jerome was running a dig, which is 20-yard in-route and the cushion was unbelievable because everyone’s afraid he’s going to run right by them he’s so fast," Ponder told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. "That just adds a whole other dimension to our offense."
Cue the hit single from early 1990s Euro-Pop sensation, EMF. There's no doubt that Simpson made a number of highlight plays last season for the Bengals and performed better than many had envisioned going into the season. When A.J. Green was out of the lineup and Simpson manned the No.1 receiver spot, also called the "X" position, he shined. But, as a complementary receiver, Simpson was feast or famine and that played into the team being lukewarm on bringing him back.
It's possible that Simpson could shine as the Vikings No.1 receiver, if given the opportunity and we at Cincy Jungle wish him well. At this point though, it seems as if Simpson landing in Minnesota was a mutually beneficial situation for both the Bengals and the Vikings.