MINNEAPOLIS — Jerome Simpson returned to the Minnesota Vikings following a meeting with an NFL hearings officer as he hopes to avoid a suspension for his arrest for DWI last season.
Simpson missed practice Monday to travel to New York and meet with Harold Henderson to appeal a possible suspension. Simpson, 28, was arrested for suspicion of DWI last November and refused to take a DWI test. Simpson pleaded guilty in January to careless driving and a third-degree DWI for refusal to submit to a DWI test.
"I just told them the truth," Simpson said Tuesday of his meeting with Henderson. "Told them the truth. The records and the facts show what happened."
Simpson, who was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards last season, re-signed with the team in the offseason on a one-year, $1 million deal. Simpson has signed three consecutive one-year contracts with the Vikings after his time with the Cincinnati Bengals ended following a drug conviction when a marijuana shipment was tracked to his home.
Simpson was suspended the first three games of the 2012 season, his first in Minnesota, for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy for the drug charges.
Simpson was accompanied to New York by attorney David Valentini.
"Our argument was that if he would have taken the test, he would have passed it," Valentini said to FoxSportsNorth.com.
Valentini said that Simpson consulted a Kentucky lawyer, who advised him to refuse the test. Valentini believes Simpson shouldn’t be suspended "under the totality" of the evidence in the case, which includes Simpson refusing the test as well as the misdemeanor charge of careless driving.
Simpson said the meeting Monday "went great" but he wouldn’t offer any opinion on whether he thought the suspension would be reduced or eliminated.
"I’m not a decision-maker with that, so I really can’t put a fact on that or point to it," Simpson said.
Simpson had 48 catches for 726 yards and one touchdown last season for Minnesota. Simpson’s return to the Vikings adds depth to the team’s receiving corps, but he’s been behind starters Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson throughout training camp.
Simpson could add a deep threat to Minnesota’s offense and offensive coordinator Norv Turner said the team has to be able to pick up the slack if Simpson is forced to miss games.
"You have to have a varied plan," Turner said. "We have plans and there’s certain plays that Simpson is really good on. There’s other guys that have to fill in if he’s not in on that play . . . I think we have a lot of guys who can stretch the field and can get deep. Some of them do it in different ways, Greg Jennings has caught three or four deep balls out here against our top corner. So a lot of it depends on coverage, a lot depends on the play we have designed, but I think we have a number of guys who can make big plays up the field."
According to the Minnesota State Patrol in November, Simpson’s red Dodge Charger was stalled in a lane of Interstate Highway 394 and Simpson was given field sobriety tests. He later refused a breathalyzer test. He said he had been at the Pour House, a local Minneapolis establishment but denied he’d been drinking. A state trooper said he had watery eyes and slightly slurred speech.
Simpson spent 15 days in jail in 2011 after a 2 1/2 pound shipment of marijuana was delivered to his home.