Still frustrated, Jerome Simpson says he'll play: 'You'd be mad, too'
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson says he's certain he'll return to action on Sunday against Arizona.
But coach Leslie Frazier reiterated on Wednesday the speedy split end still must show the back problem he's been battling the past 10 days is behind him.
"No question," Frazier said. "You don't want to put him in a situation where you feel like he can't protect himself or do the things he needs to do to play at the level that he wants to play at and we want him to play at, for sure."
That's how the Vikings' coaches and medical staff felt after watching Simpson go through limited practice reps last week, so they deactivated him for Sunday's game at Washington.
Frazier said he was convinced Simpson "couldn't push off the way he wanted to. He wasn't comfortable mentally completely with where he was.
"The way he plays -- he's an energetic guy who has such a passion for the game. If you take some of that away, some of his elusiveness even after the catch, you affected his game. Just wanted to be smart, give him a little bit more time."
That didn't stop Simpson from voicing his frustration with the decision in a session with reporters on Monday. Two days later, he made clear his performance-based contract is part of the reason he wants so badly to be on the field.
Simpson's one-year, $2 million deal included a $250,000 workout bonus, $800,000 base salary and a $950,000 roster bonus divided into $59,375 installments for each week Simpson is on the 46-man game day roster.
Because he was suspended the season's first three games, the most Simpson could make was about $1.68 million. That number drops each week he's on the sideline.
"You lose 60 thousand dollars, you'd be mad, too," Simpson said. "We're on the same page. I'm just a competitor, man. I just want to be out on that field. Anytime something gets taken from you, you're obviously going to be kind of upset about it."
Simpson also continues to downplay any issue with his back, even though Frazier has said several times that's the root of the numbness and weakness Simpson has in one of his lower legs. It is believed to be a disc problem, though the team hasn't confirmed specifics.
Asked if he's had his back treated, Simpson said, "It was on my leg. I did nothing on my back. It was mostly on my leg, because it was tightness on my leg that was really causing the problem. I really couldn't raise my leg like I normally can."
Frazier indicated Simpson would be given the opportunity to fully participate in Wednesday's practice and test his progress.
Does sitting out last week give him more motivation if he's in uniform on Sunday against the Cardinals?
"I'm fired up regardless of the situation," Simpson said. " I try to take the same approach every week as just being fiery and moving onto the next game.
"Coach deactivating me doesn't put a sense of that makes you mad. It's nothing personal against him. He's just doing what's best for the team."
Nick Ridley contributed.