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.
We’re tracking all things Purple, starting with what’s already happened and projecting what needs to happen as the Vikings work their way through free agency and the rest of the offseason.
Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson is back at Winter Park today after traveling to New York with his lawyer, David Valentini, for a Monday disciplinary hearing to appeal a three-game NFL suspension stemming from a DWI arrest last year. Simpson believes the hearing “went great.”
“I just told them the truth, told them the truth,” the 28-year-old said. “The records and the facts show what happened.”
Asked what he thought his suspension should be reduced to, Simpson replied, “I don’t know. That’s up to the discretion of them.”
Simpson avoided jail time in January after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree DWI from a Nov. 9 arrest. He was placed on one-year probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service in public schools.
The Vikings, aware of a possible suspension, re-signed Simpson to a one-year deal this offseason.
It was the second suspension for Simpson, who was banned three games by the NFL after a drug arrest in September 2011. Simpson was indicted on a felony drug-trafficking change, but later plead to a lesser felony charge of “being involved in a prohibited act relating to controlled substances.” He was sentenced in Kentucky to 15 days in jail in April 2012.
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said this morning that the Vikings will be prepared if Simpson’s suspension is upheld, saying that the team has contingency plans in place for a variety of situations.
“You have to have a varied plan,” he said. “Unfortunately in this game, guys miss [games] — whether it’s a case when a guy misses because off an off-the-field thing or we could be in the opening game and someone we’re counting on to play a big role sprains his ankle on the third play. And we have to plan to go play and do the things we want to do. We have plans and there are certain plays that Simp is really good on. There’s other guys that have to fill in if he’s not in for that play.”
Turner believes the Vikings have other viable deep threats, including Greg Jennings, to fill the void.
Meanwhile, Simpson made it clear that will accept the league’s final decision and move forward.
“I’m just ready to get it behind me,” he said.
|Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson||10||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker||2|
|Oklahoma City||89||4th Qtr 0:31|
|Denver||66||3rd Qtr 5:55|
|Dallas||1||2nd Prd 4:44|
|Sporting Kansas City||1||FINAL|
|New York City||0|
|Red Bull New York||2||FINAL|