Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Sunday, November 17, 2013
Jennings inactive, Simpson benched

By Ben Goessling

SEATTLE -- Hello from CenturyLink Field, where we're getting the day started with a bang for the Minnesota Vikings: Wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who was arrested last Saturday for drunken driving, has indeed been benched, as was expected most of the week.

What was not expected was that receiver Greg Jennings, who was listed as probable with a strained Achilles tendon, would be inactive.

Jennings will indeed sit out this afternoon's game against the Seattle Seahawks, which means rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and second-year receiver Jarius Wright will be the Vikings' starters at receiver. Simpson will likely see some action today, but for Patterson -- who's been indoctrinated slowly in the offense after the Vikings picked him in the first round -- this is a big opportunity.

It comes against one of the league's best defenses, and it comes with Percy Harvin (whom the Vikings traded away in March) on the other sideline. Harvin will return from hip surgery to play for the Seahawks today, and while he's only expected to see about 15 snaps, the Vikings know well he has the potential to alter the game on a single play.

So does Patterson, though, and today, he'll get his chance to show that as a receiver after scoring two touchdowns this season as a kick returner. The Vikings gambled when they traded Harvin and gave Jennings -- who had missed 11 games in the previous two seasons -- $18 million guaranteed the same week. They figured Jennings would steady their receiving corps, while Patterson could replace some of Harvin's explosiveness in time.

But with Jennings out and Simpson starting the game on the bench, Patterson gets a chance to make a statement.

Also inactive for the Vikings are quarterback Josh Freeman and defensive tackle Letroy Guion, which means Matt Cassel will back up Christian Ponder, and Fred Evans -- who missed the Vikings' past two games with a knee injury -- starts at nose tackle. I'd expect we'll see Kevin Williams at nose tackle a fair amount today.

Here is the Vikings' full list of inactives: