Jayron Kearse apologized Monday, saying he “just made a bad decision” that led to an arrest early Sunday morning.
The Vikings safety was pulled over in Minneapolis while drunk and with a loaded gun in his vehicle, according to the State Patrol. He posted $6,000 bond and was released from Hennepin County jail on Sunday afternoon. He met with media members Monday at the Vikings’ practice facility in Eagan.
“It’s not a reflection of who I am as a person or what this organization stands for,” Kearse said Monday. “The team and these fans deserve better. I definitely take this matter very seriously and I’m sorry for putting anybody in harm’s way. I’m going to take the necessary steps to improve myself.”
Kearse, 25, said he had not yet spoken with coach Mike Zimmer, who is not scheduled to talk with reporters until Wednesday. Kearse, 25, is in a contract year as a special teams captain, and has 16 tackles and two pass deflections in eight games.
He declined to discuss whether he would play Sunday at Kansas City, which would likely be up to the Vikings; the NFL’s standard is to wait for the legal process such cases before determining punishment.
“I just need to make better decisions,” Kearse said. “It’s not a reflection of who I am. People who know me — know me well — know that I’m the type of guy who just made a bad decision.”
Kearse said “everybody’s behind me” and clarified what he meant when saying supporters in the organization want him to “get better.”
“I mean decisionmaking,” Kearse said. “I made a bad decision. Personally, obviously I’m shaken up after something like this comes out and you know it’s not exactly who you are. Obviously, I’m shaken up about it, but I got my teammates and everybody behind me. Their support is big for me.”
According to the State Patrol, Kearse drove around a construction barricade onto a closed section of eastbound Interstate 94 at Cedar Avenue, prompting a state trooper to pull him over shortly before 4 a.m. The trooper “observed signs of alcohol impairment” and determined his blood alcohol content was at 0.10%, above the legal limit. A loaded gun was found in the vehicle. Kearse was compliant during the stop, said Patrol Lt. Gordon Shank.
Mahomes? Or Moore?
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the NFL’s reigning MVP, was a limited participant last week during Kansas City’s practices despite dislocating a kneecap just days prior against the Broncos. Chiefs coach Andy Reid remains mum on whether Mahomes could play Sunday against the Vikings. Backup quarterback Matt Moore started Sunday night in the Chiefs’ 31-24 loss to the Packers.
Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly was candid about the decision Reid faces.
“[Mahomes] is a competitor, MVP, he wants to get out there and give them a better chance of winning,” Weatherly said. “At the same time, their offensive line is hurt. You don’t have your starters in there and you bring him back, and he’s not 100 percent and with the front seven we got, there’s a chance he gets hit again. You don’t want that. I don’t know. We’ll prepare for all available options.”
‘Catch somebody 75 times a game’
After crediting his teammates’ play, right tackle Brian O’Neill said the Vikings’ schemes are a big reason for improved pass protection as quarterback Kirk Cousins went from one of the NFL’s most-pressured quarterbacks (47.7%) in Weeks 1-4, according to Pro Football Focus, to middle of the pack (34.1%) in Weeks 5-8. Cousins and the Vikings offensive line have benefited from a varied system in which coordinator Kevin Stefanski has leaned into play-action passes — especially in this four-game win streak — that throw misdirection and fakes at defenders.
“[Coaches] put us in awesome positions,” O’Neill said. “I’m really appreciative of them. They’re not just going to make us sit back there and catch somebody 75 times a game or let them tee off, you know? They’re putting us in great spots.”