Simpson's burst was immediately apparent. Despite quarterback Christian Ponder saying he didn't think it would take long for the timing between him and Ponder to come together – "it's only been a month-and-a-half, it's not like it's been five years," he said – he underthrew Simpson on one deep pass and a few connections later Simpson had to stutter-step to allow the ball to catch up to him during individual drills.
Still, there is no doubt Simpson's speed will be a welcome return to the Vikings' passing game, and he said he later caught a 60-yard pass from Ponder during team drills that are closed to the media.
"It was just getting back used to my speed and just how I run my routes and everything," Simpson said. "Just a little rusty, but during practice we made some connections. We got a good go-ball early in practice that we connected on so it was a good feeling."
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said they plan to use Simpson "quite a bit" in his first action as a Viking after a receiving a three-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy last year as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
"He's fired up. He's chomping at the bit, as you can imagine," Frazier said. "He's extremely excited about being able to now be practicing with his teammates."
Ponder has the second-highest completion percentage in the NFL at 70.1 and the fifth-best passer rating at 104.9, but his 6.16-yard average length of pass is the shortest among the top-10 rated quarterbacks.
While Simpson's speed will be a welcomed addition, Ponder, who still hasn't thrown an interception this year, cautioned that he will continue to go where the defense allows.
"We're not going to try to force things. We're going to use Jerome to get downfield and obviously he's got the speed to do it. (We'll) try to do some things to get the ball downfield," Ponder said. "We want to make big plays, but we're not going to force them."
Frazier said Raymond saw a specialist who confirmed that he won't need surgery on his ankle.
Frazier said the Vikings would prepare as if Stafford will play but watch tape of former Viking Shaun Hill, who would get the start in place of Stafford.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.