The NFL confirmed Monday that new Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson has been suspended without pay for the 1st three games of the time for violating the league’s substance abuse system. He will be fined an extra game check, but allowed to return for the Week Four game at the Detroit Lions. Scores
Simpson, 26 years old, was indicted in Jan. on charges of marijuana trafficking after police say that he received a shipment of roughly 2 pounds of marijuana at his home in Kentucky in Sep. In a plea agreement, the case was reduced to a prohibited act relating to controlled substances, and Simpson was sentenced to 15 days in jail and 3 years of probation. Simpson was reportedly facing the 3-game suspension from the league, which was confirmed by an NFL spokesperson in an e-mail distributed by the Minnesota Vikings.
“It’s kind of frustrating,” Simpson said last week while attending Minnesota’s OTAs. “Yeah it is, because I won’t be out there with my guys playing the game I love, but it is the technicality of my situation.”
Simpson, the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2nd-round draft pick in 2008, is coming off a career-best season in 2011, catching 50 passes for 725 yards and four touchdowns in 14 starts for Cincinnati. The Vikings signed him to a 1 year; make-good offer in April to be the deep threat at receiver they’ve been seeking for a while.
Simpson hasn’t claimed whether he is trying to appeal the suspension, pronouncing he’s leaving all off-field issues to his agent Dave Butz. In the meantime, he’s been an active partaker at all of the Vikings’ voluntary workouts and practices, making an attempt to earn trust in his new squad and coaches.
He’s able to participate in all offseason and preseason practice and games, including this week’s OTAs, next week’s mandatory vet minicamp and training camp, which starts July 16. When the season begins, he’s going to have to spend 3 weeks away from the team facilities. He is eligible to come back to the active register Sept. 24 after the Vikings’ Week Three game against the 49ers.
Simpson is grateful for his 2nd chance with Minnesota.
“It’s absolutely a ‘prove it’ (season) just because the nature of that I did get in trouble last year, and I need to prove to the league, myself and everybody else out there that I should be in this league.” Simpson said previously this offseason.
Through the first 2 weeks of OTAs, Simpson has become a go-to target for 2nd-year QB Christian Ponder while top receiver Percy Harvin has been rehabbing after shoulder surgery.
“We’ll miss him the 1st couple games,” Ponder asserted. “We’re trying to do as much as humanly possible and get on the same page now and then when he’s back, things will be rolling.”
The Vikings posted video clip on their site of an acrobatic catch Simpson made over cornerback Chris Cook last week, and team spokesperson Jeff Anderson said the clip has been viewed more than 50.000 times.
“It was crazy,” Ponder recounted afterward. “He plucked it right off the guy’s head. That shows me that I am able to trust him. I am able to throw it down field, and he’s going to go make a play.”