Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings' Simpson pleads guilty, avoids jail time

Posted by: Chris Miller under Vikings off the field Updated: January 2, 2014 - 4:24 PM

Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson avoided jail time today after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree DWI.

A third charge, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, was dropped.

Simpson was sentenced just for the careless driving misdemeanor, and the third-degree DWI (refusal to submit to a chemical test) was stayed.

Simpson was ordered to do 120 hours of community service in public schools instead of serving 15 days in the workhouse. He also must attend alcohol seminars. He is on probation for one year and cannot have any of the same or similar offenses.

If he violates the terms of his probation, he would likely end up back in court and face a stronger sentence.

Simpson was arrested in Minneapolis on Nov. 9 after a state trooper responded to a stalled car blocking lanes on Interstate 394 out of downtown Minneapolis.

Simpson, 27, was arrested after he exited his Dodge Charger when a trooper arrived at the stalled car. He showed signs of intoxication and flunked a field sobriety test. Simpson denied he was drinking and said he was coming from the Pourhouse, which is in the Lumber Exchange Building on S. 5th Street in downtown Minneapolis.

When Simpson signed with the Vikings in 2012, he was dealing with the repercussions of a three-game suspension by the NFL stemming from a drug arrest and was in the first year of three years’ probation ordered by a Kentucky judge. In April 2012, Simpson was sentenced in Kentucky to 15 days in jail and put on probation for three years, along with 200 hours of community service. He originally was charged there on March 1, 2012, with felony charges after marijuana was shipped to his home in Kentucky. In a plea agreement, authorities agreed that Simpson apparently wanted the marijuana for his own use, and that of his friends. Simpson’s punishment stemmed from a September 2011 crime in which authorities intercepted a package containing 2.5 pounds of marijuana on its way to his house. Police later searched Simpson’s home in northern Kentucky and found six more pounds of marijuana plus drug paraphernalia.

Simpson likely faces a suspension from the NFL for the latest charges.  He is an unrestricted free agent.

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
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