The Vikings, still reeling from the indictment of Adrian Peterson on a child abuse charge, are clearly in no mood to give troubled receiver Jerome Simpson another shot at redemption.
Hours after it was reported Simpson, who is serving his second suspension in seven seasons for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse, had been cited this summer for marijuana possession, the Vikings released him without comment Thursday.
The team had a public relations quagmire that started Monday when it reinstated Peterson, who was charged last week with a felony in Texas for injury to a child after he whipped one of his children with a tree branch. The Vikings reversed course after Tuesday’s public outcry and early Wednesday benched the star running back by putting him on the inactive list.
Simpson, 28, was cited shortly after midnight on July 7 by Bloomington police on misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession, open bottle and violating the conditions of his limited driver’s license, according to court records filed Sept. 2. A Hennepin County court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 3.
The Vikings gave Simpson his second chance in the league when they signed him as a free agent in 2012 after he was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years’ probation as part of a plea agreement from a marijuana trafficking charge while he was with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was then suspended for the first three games of the 2012 season.
Simpson was arrested for drunken driving in Minneapolis on Nov. 9 of last year. He avoided jail time in January after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree drunken driving. He was placed on a one-year probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service.
Simpson’s third chance in the league came when, knowing he would be suspended at the start of this season because of the January sentence, the Vikings signed him to a one-year, $1 million deal.
The Vikings found out about Simpson’s latest citation Thursday. Coach Mike Zimmer said at his afternoon news briefing that he would not comment until meeting with General Manager Rick Spielman.
But when asked about distractions, Zimmer said: “We’re going to continue to do the things I’ve talked about. We’re going to look for high-quality guys, keep guys that care about football, guys that are passionate about playing the game and continue to get these guys to keep working. There’s really nothing I can do about what everybody else says. All I can do is what I think is best at the time.”
Neither the Vikings nor the NFL issued an official comment. Simpson’s lawyer, David Valentini, also did not respond to a request for comment.
Simpson caught 48 passes for 726 yards last season, his sixth in the NFL. He was not arrested after a traffic stop in July but was cited at the scene, on Bush Lake Road near Interstate 494. The three charges are misdemeanors; if he had a felony amount of marijuana in his vehicle, he could have been arrested at the scene.
It will now be up to Hennepin County Court to decide whether Simpson violated his probation, which included conditions that he have no alcohol-related, drug-related or traffic offenses.
Simpson was issued a limited driver’s license, which a driver can apply for after a revoked license to get to a job, go to chemical dependency treatment or other conditions. He violated the conditions of that limited driver’s license when stopped in July, Bloomington Deputy Police Chief Rick Hart said.
Simpson was also cited for driving with a revoked license on Feb. 13. Then, on May 28, an officer pulled over Simpson for speeding and cited him for driving with a revoked license.
Staff writer Master Tesfatsion contributed to this report.