Jerome Simpson apologizes for arrest; status uncertain
NOV 11, 2013 2:27p ET
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Receiver Jerome Simpson was back at Winter Park on Monday, working through a light practice with the rest of his Minnesota Vikings teammates. How much longer he’ll get the chance to work with them is another story.
Simpson, arrested over the weekend for suspicion of DWI, was released Saturday after spending time in Hennepin County jail.
“Yeah, it’s a disappointment,” Simpson said, keeping his comments with reporters on Monday very brief.
Simpson added: “I apologize for the attention that I’ve brought with my team and myself.”
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Simpson’s red Dodge Charger was stalled in a lane of Interstate Highway 394 and Simpson was given field sobriety tests. He later refused a breathalyzer test. He said he had been at the Pour House, a local Minneapolis establishment but denied he’d been drinking. A state trooper said he had watery eyes and slightly slurred speech.
Simpson, who wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the situation, said he expects to play on Sunday when Minnesota travels to Seattle. However, coach Leslie Frazier wouldn’t guarantee Simpson would play.
“There’s so much more information to be gathered,” Frazier said. “We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.’’
Simpson leads the Vikings with 491 receiving yards this season. But his arrest this week could cause a suspension from the league. He was suspended for three games at the start of last season because he violated the league’s substance abuse policy after a felony drug conviction.
Simpson ended up in Minnesota last season on a low-cost, one-year contract, in part because of the drug-related issues. He spent 15 days in jail in 2011 after a 2 1/2 pound shipment of marijuana was delivered to his home. He’s in the second year with the team on his second one-year contract. A league’s spokesmen said Simpson’s arrest this weekend will be reviewed.
“That will definitely factor,” Frazier said. “His previous situations will definitely factor in with what happens going forward.”
Frazier was informed of the arrest early Saturday morning and spoke with Simpson at the team’s facility later in the day. The Vikings were given a three-day weekend after beating Washington on Thursday night. Frazier talks to the team often about staying out of trouble, especially in light of the off days.
“It’s always disappointing when there’s negative light brought to our organization of any kind,” Frazier said. “It’s unfortunate when this happens. You have to deal with it, but’s definitely unfortunate for sure.”
Simpson said Frazier expressed his support when the two met. Simpson said he apologized to the team.
Whether it’s enough for Simpson to be in the lineup on Sunday is unknown. Frazier said the team is still gathering facts and would have to make a decision on Simpson in the coming days.
“Yeah, there is a point as you’re putting together the game plan you like to have some idea of a guy’s availability,” Frazier said. “So we’ll wrestle with that here in the next day or so, try to figure that out.”
If Simpson is unavailable, rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson could see his most significant playing time of the season. Minnesota has said Patterson’s lack of involvement was due to bringing the rookie receiver along and because of how well Simpson had played.
“He’d have to be because he’s the guy we would be counting on to take more snaps,” Frazier said of Patterson. “It’s not how we would have planned it, but he would have to be ready to take more snaps and contribute both on special teams as well as what we’d ask him to do on offense.”
Ponder feeling better, still unsure: Quarterback Christian Ponder was at practice for the Vikings on Monday and still isn’t sure if he will be able to return Sunday after dislocation his left, non-throwing shoulder in Thursday’s game.
“Well, it was a walk-through, so we didn't really do much,” Ponder said. “I’m going to try to get out there on Wednesday and practice, and day to day, we're going to keep trying to push it more and more and see what happens."
Ponder said he was feeling better Monday and he’s optimistic he will be able to play on Sunday.
“Over the weekend, it was uncomfortable just standing here,” Ponder said. “But today, it's better. When I do certain range of motions and stuff, it bothers me, but it's getting better."
Ponder said he has increased range of motion in the shoulder as well.
“Range of motion on Friday was terrible,” Ponder said. “It's actually pretty good today. It's about trying to get the strength back, trying to get the full functionality back. Range of motion isn't completely there, but it's pretty good.”
Minnesota did have safety Jamarca Sanford, cornerback Chris Cook, tight end Rhett Ellison, running back Matt Asiata and defensive tackle Letroy Guion return to practice on Monday. The only players unavailable to participate, according to Frazier, were defensive tackle Fred Evans and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Tackle Phil Loadholt is still going through concussion testing, but was out for the portion of practice open to the media on Monday.
Rudolph is off of crutches and in a walking boot as he tries to recover from a broken foot. He said the team is still going with the four-to-six week timeline for his recovery.
“The biggest thing now is just still getting all the swelling out and letting the fracture heal,” Rudolph said. “There is nothing we can do to speed it up.”
Cole added back: After clearing waivers, Minnesota re-signed linebacker Audie Cole to the active roster. Cole, a 2012 seventh-round draft pick was released prior to Thursday’s game to add tackle Kevin Murphy for depth purposes with Loadholt unavailable.
Murphy has been re-signed to the Vikings' practice squad.
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