Suspended Vikings WR Simpson facing more legal problems
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Suspended Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson has found more trouble.
Simpson is facing misdemeanor charges of driving on a limited driver’s license, possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle and having an open bottle in a motor vehicle, according to Rick Hart, deputy police chief in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Hart said Thursday that Simpson was cited but not arrested July 7. He said no further information would be made public for now. The citation was issued shortly after midnight on a road less than a mile from the team’s suburban headquarters in Eden Prairie.
Simpson has a Nov. 3 arraignment scheduled in Hennepin County court. The Vikings and Simpson’s attorney, David Valentini, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Coach Mike Zimmer, asked about the situation after practice, declined to comment until after conferring with general manager Rick Spielman. Speaking generally about the recent spate of bad news, given the indictment on a child abuse charge in Texas for star running back Adrian Peterson, Zimmer reiterated his philosophy on building the roster.
”We’re going to look for high-quality guys. We’re going to keep guys that care about football, guys that are passionate about playing the game,” Zimmer said. ”We’re going to continue to get these guys, and we’re going to keep working.”
Simpson is in the final week of his three-game suspension under the league’s substance-abuse policy, his second such punishment in three seasons with the Vikings. Simpson was arrested last November on suspicion of drunken driving. In January, he avoided jail time after pleading guilty to careless driving and refusing to take a DWI test. In return, prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired.
The NFL finalized the suspension Aug. 29, after Simpson unsuccessfully appealed in a meeting at league headquarters in New York.
He’s eligible to rejoin the Vikings Monday, assuming the team decides to reinstate him then. The NFL said Thursday that the July 7 incident would be reviewed under the substance abuse policy.
Simpson also served a three-game ban in 2012, stemming from a felony drug conviction for a marijuana shipment authorities found at his home in Kentucky while he played for Cincinnati in 2011. That could mean he’s on track for a steeper penalty this time.
Simpson was still on probation for the 2011 drug conviction in Kentucky at the time of the 2013 drunken driving arrest in Minnesota. As part of the plea deal for the 2013 incident, Simpson was placed on probation for a year, so he could face fallout for the July citation in the legal system, too.
The Vikings have seen enough good behavior from Simpson off the field and glimpses of potential on it that they’ve signed him to three consecutive one-year contracts, at relative bargains because of his trouble. Only one of his eight career touchdown catches has been with Minnesota, but he established career highs last season with 726 receiving yards and an average of 15.1 yards per catch.
Whether the absence of his field-stretching speed has made a significant impact or not, long pass completions by quarterback Matt Cassel have been rare the first two games. The Vikings play at New Orleans Sunday. They host Atlanta next week.