Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:
It's rare, at least in our experience, to hear Jerome Simpson compared to Michael Jordan (though they did both grow up in North Carolina, so maybe the similarities run deeper than we think). But Vikings wide receivers coach George Stewart -- who has worked with Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Percy Harvin in his career -- went there in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, at least when describing how much Simpson meant to the Vikings' offense during a seven-catch, 140-yard performance last Sunday.
"It’s hard taking Jerome out of the offense," Stewart said in an interview with Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "It’s kind of like Michael Jordan shooting threes and then deciding to bring in the backup guard."
The larger point in Craig's story is that Simpson -- who caught 23 passes for 274 yards without a touchdown last year -- means as much as he does to the Vikings right now because of how little experience Christian Ponder has with his other receivers. That's why it seemed a bit odd that the Vikings didn't carve out more time for Ponder to work with Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson in the preseason, but Stewart feels like things will be fine in time.
"Greg is new, Cordarrelle is new, Jerome has been here less than a year, Jarius (Wright) played less than half a year last year, and Joe was a quarterback,” Stewart said. “They’re still establishing a rhythm with Christian. As we go through this season, you’ll see our passing game take off.”
Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:
Wright joins defensive end Brian Robison among the players who say Sunday's game against the Bears is a must-win, according to Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com.
Former Vikings coach Bud Grant recalls being impressed with Bears coach Marc Trestman when he was a first-year assistant with the Vikings in 1985, Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes.