[[[ CORRECTION: A previous version of this post included the headline “Even after guilty plea on drug trafficking charge,” Jerome Simpson may interest Vikings. The earlier post also included an erroneous line that read: “Last month, Simpson plead guilty to a felony drug trafficking charge …” Both the headline and that sentence were inaccurate. While Simpson was originally indicted on a felony charge of marijuana trafficking, as part of his plea agreement in March, he plead guilty to a lesser charge of being involved in a prohibited act relating to controlled substances. The Star Tribune regrets the error. ]]]
Do the Vikings have plans to bolster their receiving corps before next week’s draft?
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, free agent Jerome Simpson will be in the Twin Cities this weekend for a visit with the Vikings. Simpson, a free agent, had 50 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns in 2011 in Cincinnati, a breakout season for a talented receiver who became a highlight hero last Christmas Eve with this acrobatic touchdown against Arizona.
A second-round draft choice by the Bengals in 2008, Simpson didn’t emerge as a regular contributor until late in the 2010 season. In Cincinnati’s final two games that year, Simpson took advantage of injuries to Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, assumed a heightened role and hauled in 18 passes for 247 yards with three touchdowns. He followed that up with notable production again last season. Without question, Simpson is an explosive athlete with the ability to turn mediocre passes into big plays.
But Simpson may also come with a bit of baggage and risk. In September, he found himself ensnared in a sting in Kentucky in which authorities intercepted a package being delivered to Simpson’s home that contained 2.5 pounds of marijuana. Police then searched the residence and six more pounds of marijuana, plus other empty packages and scales.
According to a fall report from the Cincinnati Enquirer, authorities suspected Simpson’s home was set up as a “potential distribution network” for weed.
Originally indicted on a felony drug trafficking charge that stemmed from that incident, as part of a plea agreement last month, Simpson plead guilty to a lesser charge of being involved in a prohibited act relating to controlled substances. In early April, he received a light sentence – 15 days in jail and three years of probation. That opens the door for Simpson to get back to business in the NFL. And now the Vikings, along with the Rams, appear to be among the interested teams.