Dec 23, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson (81) on the sidelines against the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Vikings won 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Circus Catches Are Nice, But Consistency is Key For Jerome Simpson

Have you seen Jerome Simpson’s “Superman” catch from Wednesday’s OTA session? If not, go over to Vikings.com and watch the video. Then come back and continue reading cause I’ve got a few things to say about Simpson.

Okay, you back? Good. Here’s what I have to say about Jerome Simpson:

Hey it’s great that Jerome Simpson can make a crazy “Superman” catch in OTAs. Circus catches are always fun even when they happen in practice. Great show of athleticism from Jerome.

But here’s the thing. We already know that Jerome is athletic. The front-flip? We all remember the front-flip. Yes, Jerome Simpson can do tremendous things with his body. He’s gifted.

I also remember another guy who played for the Vikings who was athletically gifted and could do amazing things as a receiver. Cris Carter? Heard of him? Of course you have. He is now a Hall of Famer.

But here’s the thing: Though Carter was capable of making amazing circus catches, it wasn’t that aspect of his game that got him into the Hall. Carter is headed to Canton not because of the few crazy plays but because of the many mundane ones. He accumulated Hall-worthy stats by making the routine non-highlight-reel plays over and over and over without fail.

Consistency got Carter into the Hall. Not outstanding athleticism. And that brings us back to Jerome Simpson.

Will Simpson ever be Cris Carter? Of course not. Sorry Sid Hartman, but that comparison is stupid. Thing is, the Vikings don’t really need Simpson to be Cris Carter. They just need him to be a solid #2 receiver.

If Simpson is to become that solid #2, he will have to get at least a little closer to Cris Carter. Not just in on-field consistency but off-field work ethic. And that’s been the knock on Simpson. He doesn’t work at his game hard enough. He’s not a good route runner. He’s not disciplined. He loses concentration.

Getting all nuts about one Simpson catch in OTAs is missing the point. That catch proves nothing that we don’t already know about Simpson. If Simpson really wants to impress, he will work his tail off in Carter-like fashion, improving his overall game and becoming the reliable performer the Vikings need him to be.

Not to be a bucket of cold water, but one Superman catch means nothing in the grand scheme. It’s good entertainment…for a second. But it doesn’t prove anything. Simpson will need to prove it play-after-play – when the games actually count – if he truly wants to justify the Vikings’ faith in him.

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