EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Jerome Simpson’s legal troubles aren’t behind him yet and now they’ve cost him his job.
The Minnesota Vikings announced Thursday they’d released Simpson, the Minnesota Vikings receiver currently serving a three-game suspension for DWI. He was cited in Bloomington, Minn., in July and is facing 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.
Simpson, 28, wasn’t arrested for the incident, when he was found at 12:44 a.m. on July 7. Simpson is scheduled for a court date on Nov. 3 for the charges, which are misdemeanors.
Coach Mike Zimmer said he was just informed of the charges against Simpson following Thursday’s practice.
"I’m not going to talk about it until I talk to Rick," Zimmer said, referring to general manager Rick Spielman.
Simpson has served two games for his second three-game suspension in three seasons. He was set to be reinstated following Minnesota’s game Sunday at New Orleans. His suspension stemmed from a DWI in November of last year. Simpson pleaded guilty in January to careless driving and a third-degree DWI for refusal to submit to a DWI test.
The Vikings signed Simpson in 2012 following a drug conviction when a marijuana shipment was tracked to his home.
Simpson spent 15 days in jail in 2011 after a 2 1/2 pound shipment of marijuana was delivered to his home. He was later suspended for three games to start the 2012 season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy for the drug charges.
Simpson, who had 48 catches and 726 receiving yards last season, re-signed with the team in the offseason on a one-year, $1 million deal, his third consecutive one-year contract with Minnesota.
The incident is another off-field matter for the Vikings, which had star running back Adrian Peterson placed on the commissioner’s exempt list a day earlier as he deals with charges of injury to a child. Peterson, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, will be away from the team while he deals with his legal situation, perhaps meaning Peterson won’t return this season.
"Like when I first came in here, we’re going to continue to do the things that I talked about doing," Zimmer said of trying to get the team passed the off-field issues. "We’re going to look for high-character guys, guys that care about football, guys that are passionate about playing the game and continue to get these guys. And we’re going to keep working."