Notebook: Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu could play bigger roles
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- While the Minnesota Vikings are hoping Jerome Simpson can play through a back issue that has caused weakness and numbness in one of his legs, they are going to need their other wide receivers to play a bigger role if Simpson continues to be slowed.
Jenkins is tied for third on the Vikings with 13 receptions for 135 yards and had three catches for 35 yards on Sunday in a 30-7 victory over Tennessee. Aromashodu is fifth on the team with nine receptions for 138 yards and tied his season-high last Sunday by contributing three catches for 34 yards.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said if Simpson can't play on Sunday the Vikings will go back to the plan they used in the first three games of the season when Simpson was serving a suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
"You count on Devin, you count on Michael to be able to make some plays," Frazier said. "You hope that Stephen [Burton] will be able to make some plays for us. Eventually we'll get Jarius [Wright] up as well but right now, the guys that would play if something were to happen where Jerome was not able to play, would be the same guys that played in those first three games.
"They'd be the ones that would have to make plays. But we have some playmakers on offense between Kyle [Rudolph], John [Carlson] and Adrian [Peterson], of course Percy [Harvin]. We have some playmakers, and Toby [Gerhart] can make plays."
Jenkins, for one, said he would welcome a bigger role.
"(I'm) always ready," to play, he said. "Everybody that is at our position is ready to step in no matter who goes down or who goes out, whatever the case may be. We are always ready to fill in."
Jenkins' desire to remain with the Vikings was such that in August he agreed to renegotiate the two years remaining on his contract and reduce his 2012 base salary from $2.5 million to $1 million. His 2013 salary also was reduced, from $2.5 million to $825,000.
Wright, a fourth-round pick by the Vikings last April out of Arkansas, still has yet to play in a game this season. It was expected Wright would make his debut after recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the preseason finale at Houston. That, however, hasn't happened.
"He's healthy, it's just a decision we made," not to play him, Frazier said. "Eventually his turn will come, nothing to do with his health. He's doing a good job in practice, just has to continue to work and his time will eventually come."
Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin was fined $21,000 on Tuesday by the NFL for a sideline hit he put on Jenkins on Sunday. The hit drew a 15-yard penalty after Griffin led with his helmet while making the play.
"People have been telling me about it," Jenkins said when told of the fine given to Griffin. "Just the way the league is right now. It was a hard hit, I didn't really feel anything from it, didn't feel any ill effects from it. But it is the way it is right now. ... Defensive players don't like it, but it is from the top down from (Commissioner Roger) Goodell."
Smith anticipated the worst
Vikings safety Harrison Smith was expecting the worst after he was ejected in the second quarter Sunday for pushing aside back judge Steve Freeman in the second quarter as the official attempted to lead the rookie away from a skirmish with Tennessee wide receiver Nate Washington.
"I kind of anticipate the worst in most things because then you can't be disappointed," Smith said.
But Smith escaped without being suspended or fined by the NFL.
"I am just happy to get back on the field," he said. "That is the main focus, just getting out there and helping the Vikings."
Asked about getting thrown out of the game, Smith said: "It definitely makes you realize how much you love the game and how much you want to take advantage of every opportunity you have to get on the field. So it kind of puts it into perspective how lucky I am to be a part of the Vikings and even play in the NFL. It makes you realize how great it really is."
Erin Henderson returned Sunday after a two-game absence because of a concussion but the starting weak-side linebacker did not see much playing time. Now the odd man out in nickel situations, Henderson played only 19 snaps against the Titans because the Vikings were in nickel for 72.9% of their snaps.
Henderson played the middle linebacker in the nickel package for the first two games but now has been replaced by Jasper Brinkley. That isn't expected to change.
"That is the coach's decision," Henderson said. "I just play football. I just do what they tell me to do when they tell me to do it. Every time I am out there I play well. That is all I can control. Just making sure I take care of my end of the bargain when I am put in that situation and asked to go into duty. You guys can dice it up and slice it up and make up what you will, but I just do what the coaches tell me to do."
Henderson said he came out of the game healthy and did not have any symptoms from his concussion return.
"When you first get out there, going through pregame warm-ups and stuff, you've got some thoughts going through your head," he said. "It is your head, you don't really know how it is going to react and what is going to happen and how it is going to play out but once you get your first couple contacts you know you are all right."
• Running back Adrian Peterson (ankle), safety Mistral Raymond (ankle), wide receiver Jerome Simpson (lower back and foot) and defensive tackle Kevin Williams (illness) did not take part in practice for the Vikings on Wednesday. Guard Charlie Johnson (lower back), linebacker Marvin Mitchell (calf), safety Andrew Sendejo (ankle) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee) were limited. Quarterback Christian Ponder (knee) remains on the injury report but did not miss any drills.
• Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (concussion) was limited in Wednesday's practice. Former Viking cornerback Cedric Griffin (hamstring) also was limited for Washington. Safety Brandon Meriweather (knee) has been declared out for Sunday's game. Defensive end Doug Worthington (calf) did not take part in practice.
Dana Wessel contributed