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Vikings re-sign WR Simpson, sign CB Cox

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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

The Minnesota Vikings re-signed wide receiver Jerome Simpson.

The seventh-year veteran signed with the Vikings in 2012, but made little impact that season following a three-game suspension and a back injury. Simpson finally emerged in the offense last season, finishing second on the team with a career-high 726 yards on 48 receptions and displaying the vertical threat general manager Rick Spielman had envisioned.

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Simpson has started 18 of 28 games over the past two years after signing as a free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals. His first touchdown of the season in December was his first since 2011.

He also was charged with driving under the influence in November, but avoided jail time after reaching a plea agreement.

New Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is familiar with Simpson from their time together in Cincinnati, where Zimmer was the defensive coordinator.

Simpson provides a veteran threat who can stretch the field, and he returns to a receiving corps that includes slowing veteran Greg Jennings and dynamic second-year player Cordarrelle Patterson along with Rodney Smith and Jarius Wright.

Vikings sign CB Cox

The Minnesota Vikings moved to bolster their thin group of cornerbacks with the signing of free agent Derek Cox on Friday.

Cox was a third-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009, and has started 53 of 63 career games. However, he was a disappointment after signing as a free agent with the San Diego Chargers last offseason and had his contract terminated earlier this month.

Cox had 34 tackles, one interception and seven passes defensed last season, contributing to the Chargers’ 29th-ranked pass defense. He began the season as a starter, but was benched in three consecutive games at one stage despite his $20 million contract.

The Vikings were ranked two spots lower at No. 31, allowing an average of 287.2 yards per game through the air. While Xavier Rhodes developed well as a rookie, disappointing Chris Cook will be allowed to move on as a free agent. Josh Robinson is coming off a poor 2013 season as well.

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