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Jerome Simpson was in New York appealing what could be a three-game suspension from the NFL for a drunken driving arrest.

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Vikings' Simpson facing three-game suspension from drunken driving arrest

  • Article by: MASTER TESFATSION and MATT VENSEL
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • August 19, 2014 - 6:32 AM

Jerome Simpson is facing a three-game suspension from the NFL.

The Vikings wide receiver missed Monday’s practice to appeal the suspension, which stems from a drunken-driving arrest last season.

Simpson was in New York with his lawyer, David Valentini, for a disciplinary hearing, Valentini said.

Simpson, 28, avoided jail time in January after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree drunken driving following a Nov. 9 arrest on Interstate Hwy. 394. He was placed on a one year probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service in public schools.

The Vikings re-signed the wide receiver in the offseason on a one-year deal for the third consecutive season despite a possible suspension. When the team signed Simpson in 2012, he faced a three-game suspension by the NFL following a drug arrest in September 2011, when he played for Cincinnati.

Simpson was indicted on a felony drug-trafficking change, but later pleaded to a lesser felony charge of “being involved in a prohibited act relating to controlled substances.” He was sentenced in Kentucky to 15 days in jail in April 2012.

Simpson had a career-high 726 receiving yards on 48 receptions with one touchdown last season with the Vikings. He had one catch for 19 yards in the Vikings’ 30-28 victory over the Cardinals on Saturday night.

Cassel to start

Coach Mike Zimmer announced Matt Cassel will start at quarterback against the Chiefs on Saturday, but Teddy Bridgewater could also play with the first team.

“That’s a possibility,” said Zimmer about the rookie.

Zimmer wouldn’t elaborate on how he will distribute time between Cassel and Bridgewater in the third preseason game. Cassel played the entire first half with the first team against Arizona, going 12-of-16 for 153 yards and a touchdown. Once it appeared Cassel played well enough to increase his cushion for the starting quarterback spot, Bridgewater went 16-of-20 for 177 yards and two TDs.

The rookie led the Vikings on a seven-play, 83-yard comeback drive in 53 seconds to beat the Cardinals. It was capped on a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rodney Smith with 18 seconds left.

“[Bridgewater] was calm, poised,” Zimmer said. “You could tell he was kind of feeling it the whole way. He was getting the ball out in the right places and getting the protections down. I think he’s feeling more comfortable.”

Cassel remained with the first team during practice Monday, with Bridgewater handling the second team reps. The rookie quarterback did receive a few reps with the first team during a walkthrough period, however.

Blanton back

Safety Robert Blanton returned to practice for the first time in three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during the Vikings’ first night practice in training camp.

While he was a full participant, Blanton was behind Chris Crocker for first team reps at strong safety. Blanton worked with the first team since OTAs and up until the hamstring injury.

“Nope,” said Blanton when asked if he felt any rust. “Just out here getting better every day.”

The battle remains open despite Blanton’s long layoff. There hasn’t been separation at the position between Crocker, Andrew Sendejo, Jamarca Sanford and Kurt Coleman in Blanton’s absence.

Injury report

Cornerbacks Jabari Price, Shaun Prater and Josh Robinson, linebackers Gerald Hodges and Brandon Watts and defensive end Brian Robison all missed Monday’s practice.

Price and Hodges are not expected to play against the Chiefs, according to Zimmer. Hodges suffered a knee injury against the Cardinals, while Zimmer did not disclose Price’s injury.

Prater suffered a head injury during the game and could be cleared for Tuesday’s practice. Robinson has dealt with a nagging hamstring injury throughout training camp.

Watts was at practice but did not participate. His injury is unknown, but the rookie had his left leg wrapped. The Vikings had just seven healthy linebackers at practice.

Zimmer said Robison was excused from practice to handle a personal matter.

Etc.

• The Vikings waived linebacker Dom DeCicco, who had hip surgery on Thursday, and claimed linebacker Justin Jackson off waivers from the Lions. Jackson, an undrafted rookie free agent, appeared in 36 games at Wake Forest, recording 193 tackles, seven sacks and three forced fumbles in three seasons.

• Nose tackle Linval Joseph will also miss his second preseason game recovering from leg injury suffered from a gunshot wound. Zimmer said Joseph has recently increased his rehab workload.

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