Notebook: Jerome Simpson's status for Sunday's game remains uncertain
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Jerome Simpson returned to practice on Thursday, but the Minnesota Vikings remain unsure if the wide receiver will be able to play on Sunday in Washington.
Coach Leslie Frazier said that Simpson, "was a little bit better," after being limited in practice but added the team would need to see how the veteran does in Friday's session.
Simpson, who did not practice Wednesday, woke up Sunday morning with numbness and weakness in one of his legs. Tests shows the problem was the result of an issue with Simpson's back.
The Vikings have not elaborated on exactly what's wrong, but it's believed Simpson has an issue with a disc. Frazier expressed optimism Wednesday that Simpson would not be sidelined for a lengthy period of time and then added there was a, "very good chance" he would play Sunday.
Asked Thursday about Simpson's potential availability for the Redskins game, Frazier said: "(I'm) not so sure about Jerome. We'll see. We need to get back-to-back days with him, see how he feels (Friday) after practice and talk with him again. ...
"He still has some weakness, so we'll see how much better he is (Friday) and then go from there. The fact he was able to participate (Thursday) and go through some of practice, that was a good sign."
Simpson signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Vikings in April to provide a vertical threat but had to sit out the first three games of the season after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
He returned to catch four passes for 50 yards -- and also was able to draw two pass interference penalties against the defense -- in the Vikings' 20-13 victory at Detroit on Sept. 30.
But after waking up with the leg issue last Sunday, he was held without a catch in a 30-7 victory over Tennessee. Simpson was the target of only three Christian Ponder passes in the win.
Concern about Percy?
Simpson was joined on the injury report by wide receiver Percy Harvin, who was added on Thursday after his hamstring tightened up on him. "It was a little sore, so we just decided to back off as practice went on," Frazier said.
The Vikings (4-1) can't afford to lose Harvin, who leads the team with 38 receptions for 407 yards and one touchdown and has 62 rushing yards on 13 attempts with another score. Harvin also is averaging 38.3 yards on nine kickoff returns and had a 105-yard touchdown run to open the game against the Lions.
Adrian Peterson returned to practice on a limited basis after missing Thursday because of a mild sprain of his left ankle. Frazier and Peterson both said the running back should be fine to go Sunday.
"Adrian was much better (Thursday) and was able to go through the entire practice," Frazier said.
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who sat out Wednesday because of illness, also returned.
Linebacker Marvin Mitchell had a set back with his calf injury and remained limited. Also limited were guard Charlie Johnson (lower back), safety Andrew Sendejo (ankle) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee).
Quarterback Christian Ponder (knee) remains on the injury report but has not missed any time this week.
Slowly but surely
Defensive end Jared Allen had six multi-sack games in 2011 en route to finishing with 22 quarterback takedowns, placing him a half-sack behind Michael Strahan's single-season record.
Three of those multi-sack games came in the Vikings' first five contests, giving him 8.5 sacks in the opening five games. This season, Allen has three sacks in the first five games and while he has recorded one in each of the past three games, he does not have more than one in a single game.
"I've had multi-miss sack games," Allen said Thursday. "Maybe we can switch that around and get a multi-sack (game). But I'll tell you what, I'll take one a game from here on out, the rest of my career, and I'll be a happy man. I don't like to get too greedy.
"We're playing good and it's a matter of getting a quarterback that's going to hold the ball. It all starts with being successful on first and second down and if we can get them into those third-and-long situations, where we have cracks at it, than (the sacks) come. It will happen."
The Vikings will play on the natural surface at FedEx Field on Sunday, something Allen prefers.
"Everybody has to play the same, it depends on if it's raining or not," he said. "I actually prefer grass. It's softer. You don't have this black stuff (the pellets from turf) in your face all the time."
Offensive lineman DeMarcus Love, who underwent surgery last month to repair a torn right pectoral muscle, said he has regained full range of motion and expects to increase his rehabilitation work soon.
"This is my last week in my sling," Love said. "So, now, it's just basically starting the rehab and getting everything back stronger."
A sixth-round draft pick (168th overall) out of Arkansas in 2011, Love has yet to play in a regular-season NFL game. He was inactive for all 16 games last season and never fully recovered after suffering the pec injury the first week of training camp this year.
"It's frustrating, but I can't dwell on it," Love said. "Got to go ahead and move forward. It is what it is."
• Three weeks ago, the Bovada SportsBook had the Vikings at 200:1 odds to win the Super Bowl. On Wednesday, Bovada's odds had the Vikings at 40:1.
• Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III (concussion) continued to be limited in practice on Thursday. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin was able to go through practice without problems, according to the Washington Post. He will be evaluated by team doctors before he is cleared to practice Friday and hasn't yet been cleared for Sunday's game.
• Also limited for the Redskins was cornerback Cedric Griffin. The former Viking is dealing with a hamstring issue. Defensive end Dough Worthington (calf) missed a second consecutive day of practice.
Tom Pelissero contributed