Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:
Jerome Simpson's first year in Minnesota was an unqualified disappointment; the Vikings knew he would miss the first three games of the season because of a drug suspension, but two weeks after he came back, Simpson found himself unable to push off or make sharp cuts because of a mysterious back injury. The ailment stuck with him most of the season, and he wound up with just 26 catches for 274 yards and no touchdowns.
The Vikings re-signed him to a one-year deal in March, gambling on the possibility that he could be better with a healthy season in the Vikings' system, and the receiver is grateful for another shot.
"I feel like I owe (the Vikings) something because I want to prove to them and the naysayers that I can play this game," Simpson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I just want to just prove to the team that I want to be here. Hopefully this is going to be a great year for me."
It might be harder for Simpson to carve out a prominent role in the Vikings' offense this year, with Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson in the offense and Jarius Wright looking like he could command more attention. But Simpson will begin the year as the team's starting split end, and he could be able to give the Vikings the deep threat they thought they had when they signed him in the spring of 2012.
Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:
We looked at where Christian Ponder needs to improve against pressure, and our first edition of Double Coverage broke down the Vikings-Lions matchup on Sunday.
In its yearly set of DVOA projections, Football Outsiders says the Vikings have one of the league's toughest schedules, and gives them the lowest chance of winning the Super Bowl.
Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams detailed the process by which the Vikings have to defend Calvin Johnson, via Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press.
Minnesota governor Mark Dayton wants to see the state's final audit of the Wilf family before he's ready to believe the Vikings' owners can pay for the team's new stadium, writes Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Vikings' two offensive tackles are an odd -- and effective -- couple, according to Dave Campbell of the Associated Press.
Everson Griffen might be the Vikings defensive end in line for a contract extension, says Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.