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.
The Vikings announced they’ve released wide receiver Jerome Simpson after the organization became aware of a July 7 citation on Thursday.
Simpson missed the first two games of the season, serving a three-game NFL suspension for a DUI arrest last year. He was expected to return to the team on Monday after the Vikings face the Saints on Sunday.
The Vikings receiver is scheduled to appear in Hennepin County Court on Nov. 3 after being cited just after midnight July 7 by Bloomington Police on charges of marijuana possession, open bottle and violating the conditions of his limited drivers license, according to court records filed Sept. 2.
The team has not issued a comment. Simpson’s attorney, David Valentini, has not returned messages for comment.
The Vikings lead the NFL in the number of player arrests – 44 since 2000. Simpson, though, was not arrested in this latest incident, but instead cited at the scene, on Bush Lake Road near Hwy. 494. The three charges are misdemeanor offenses; if he had a felony amount of marijuana in his vehicle, he could have been arrested at the scene.
Simpson is serving a three-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, stemming from a drunken-driving arrest last season. It will now be up to Hennepin County Court to decide if Simpson violated probation in that case. Simpson was arrested Nov. 9 but avoided jail time in January after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree drunken driving. Simpson was placed on a one-year probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service.
This is Simpson’s second suspension from the NFL. He previously was suspended for three games when he first signed with the Vikings in 2012 related to a drug arrest in September 2011 while he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
According to records, the 28-year-old was also cited for driving with a revoked license on Feb. 13. Then on May 28, an officer pulled Simpson over for speeding and cited him for driving with a revoked license; he has a court appearance on that case Monday.
Simpson was issued a limited drivers license, which a driver can apply for after a revoked license to get to a job, go to chemical dependency treatment or other conditions. While he had the drivers license with him July 7, he violated the conditions of that limited drivers license, Bloomington Deputy Police Chief Rick Hart said.
The Vikings re-signed Simpson to a one-year deal this past offseason, knowing he faced an NFL suspension in his second legal case.
His suspension was set to end following Sunday’s game at New Orleans.
Staff writer Kelly Smith contributed to this report
— Barry Bolton (@rhinos69) September 18, 2014
If Cassel has another dud performance like he did last week, that support won’t last long. Inconsistency has been an issue throughout Cassel’s career where he’ll single-handedly lose a game for a team. We saw that last season against the Panthers and Bengals. In eight starts with the Vikings, Cassel has three games with multiple interceptions. He has 19 career games where he’s thrown multiple interceptions.
Can he bounce back? Yes he can, especially against this Saints defense that’s allowed the second most points per game (31.5) and third most yards per game (446) through two games. All this performance did was remind fans that Cassel likely won’t start the entire season, and we’ve inched closer to the start of the Teddy Bridgewater era.
— Sergio Ramshackle (@SergioRamshackl) September 18, 2014
At this point, they have to be. If the Vikings sign a running back, it’ll take weeks to learn the offense and actually become effective in a game. The most intriguing names are LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk, but the Vikings already have a shifty back in rookie Jerick McKinnon.
Again, Matt Asiata did improve this offseason. That won’t translate to the point where Asiata can carry Adrian Peterson’s load. It’ll take all three, including Joe Banyard, to replace Peterson. Even then, and even if the Vikings decide to sign another running back, it still won’t fill Peterson’s massive shoes.
— Brian Rentz (@rentzbj) September 18, 2014
A team never wants to go into a game with a roster spot open, so I’d expect the Vikings to fill that spot by Saturday. It’ll likely be a promotion from the practice squad, which fullback Zach Line is probably the favorite among the 10 players on the practice squad. He was waived so the Vikings could promote Banyard to the active roster as a result of Peterson’s deactivation. Line is back on the team after he signed to the practice squad. If they thought Line was worthy of a 53-man roster spot after preseason, then they’d probably feel the same way two weeks into the season.
As for when Jerome Simpson returns in Week 4, wide receiver Rodney Smith is likely the odd man out next week. He’ll probably sign with the practice squad, however. There will be an open spot if the Vikings promote Line, or someone else on the practice squad, this week. It’s just hard to see the Vikings keep six wide receivers on their roster given they hardly spread four wide receivers under offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
— Eric Bowe (@theEricBowe) September 18, 2014
Enough with the conspiracy theories. There’s no conspiracy here, just accept it was a mere coincidence those two reports occurred in the same offseason. Will Peterson remain with the Vikings? I don’t know. If he’s released, will he go to the Cowboys? I don’t know. But I do know the conspiracy theory tweets are the dumbest thing to come out of this entire Peterson situation. Enough already.
Every weekday, our Vikings reporters walk you through what’s happening with the team that day.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Will RB Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?
— Has Peterson hastened his departure with his legal issues?
— The Vikings say they put Peterson on the exempt list to “get things right.”
— The Vikings must deal with a big distraction as they prepare for the Saints.
— OLB Chad Greenway missed practice with a broken hand.
TWEET OF THE (YESTER)DAY
Adrian situation is awful, but I feel for friends of mine in that locker room who are just trying to do their job and win games. #Vikings
— Steve Hutchinson (@poisonpill76) September 17, 2014
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
— The Saints are preparing for a less explosive Vikings offense without Peterson.
— Some Saints defenders are disappointed they won’t get to play Peterson.
— QB Drew Brees says that not all NFL players are “brutes.”
— Saints RB Mark Ingram had surgery on his broken hand.
TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE
The coordinators — including Mike Priefer, who is back with the team — will speak with reporters at 11 a.m. The locker room will be open then, too. The Vikings will begin practice at 12:50 p.m.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Since 2007, Peterson’s first season in the NFL, the Vikings have rushed for 16,104 yards, more than any other team. The team’s 4.8 yards-per-carry average also ranks first in the league.
Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway walked off Wednesday’s practice wearing a splint around his broken left hand. He did not participate in practice, nor speak too much specifically about the severity of the injury that occurred during Sunday’s 30-7 loss against the Patriots.
“It just started to really bother me swelling up and something happened,” Greenway said.
Along with Greenway, who was listed with a hand and rib injury, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) and offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle) did not participate in practice. Linebacker Brandon Watts (knee) returned for his first practice since preseason, though he was limited. Tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (groin) and wide receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring) were all also limited.
For the Saints, safety Marcus Ball (hamstring), center Jonathan Goodwin (elbow), running back Mark Ingram (hand) and fullback Erik Lorig (ankle) did not participate in practice. Linebacker Curtis Lofton (shoulder) was limited.
Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn expressed his disapproval with the team’s decision to place running back Adrian Peterson on the commissioner’s exempt list at 12:47 a.m. on Wednesday. Munnerlyn, who grew up in Mobile, Ala., didn’t see anything wrong with Peterson using a switch to discipline his 4-year-old son.
“Growing up my mom, she disciplined me the same way,” Munnerlyn said. “And I’d say it got me to this point now. I’m in the NFL, and I know how to behave. I really didn’t see the big deal. People are blowing it out of proportion with all this, and all that. At the end of the day, we came here to win a football game. I think for Adrian, the best thing for him to do is play football to let out some frustration and be himself.”
Peterson, who grew up in Palestine, Texas, was charged one count of injury to a child in Montgomery County (Texas) last weekend as a result of the punishment. Munnerlyn’s comments echoed those of fullback Jerome Felton, who was raised in Madisonville, Tenn., about how they felt Peterson’s actions was an acceptable form of discipline growing up in the South.
“If Adrian wasn’t in the limelight, I don’t think this would be coming up at all because you raise your kids how you raise your kids,” Munnerlyn said. “They’re your kids.”
When asked if he looked at the alleged photos after Peterson “whooped” the child with a switch, Munnerlyn said, “No I really didn’t look into it. Growing up, that was nothing. My mom, she always welted me up and things like that. In my culture, that’s how I was raised; and my mom, that’s how she raised her kids.”
Peterson was issued an arrest warrant on Friday, which prompted the team to deactivate him for the Vikings’ 30-7 loss to the Patriots at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday. He was booked and released on bail Saturday morning in Montgomery County. The Vikings decided to reinstate Peterson on Monday but reversed course after backlash from the public and their sponsors over the last two days.
“He hasn’t been convicted of nothing,” Munnerlyn said. “All these allegations of this, and that, the pictures out, but he hasn’t been convicted of nothing. In crimes, you’re innocent until you’re convicted guilty. I don’t think he’s guilty of nothing yet. I really think he should be able to play football. I really don’t get it. At the end of the day, I know they came up with the decision, but I’m just going to stick to playing football and doing what I know.”
|Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison||2||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka||5|
|Washington - WP: S. Strasburg||2||FINAL|
|Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi||1|
|NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom||10||FINAL|
|Atlanta - LP: E. Santana||2|
|Boston - WP: J. Kelly||3||FINAL|
|Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez||2|
|Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta||0||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley||1|
|Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks||10||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns||5|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber||7||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak||2|
|Detroit - LP: R. Porcello||2||FINAL|
|Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie||5|
|Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma||3||FINAL|
|Houston - WP: C. McHugh||8|
|Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez||8||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner||5|
|Texas - WP: S. Tolleson||2||FINAL|
|LA Angels - LP: H. Street||1|
|Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez||6||FINAL|
|Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle||8|
|San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong||2||FINAL|
|San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy||8|
|Arizona - LP: W. Miley||3||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: C. Bergman||8|
|Cincinnati||3||Top 8th Inning|
|Pittsburgh||16||3rd Qtr 11:02|
|Chicago||9/22/14 7:30 PM|
|NY Giants||9/25/14 7:25 PM|
|Edmonton||0||3rd Prd :08|
|(9) Michigan State||73|
|(23) East Carolina||70|
|(6) Texas A&M||58||FINAL|
|San Jose St||7||FINAL|
|(14) Miss State||34||FINAL|
|(13) So Carolina||48||FINAL|
|New Mexico St||35|
|(1) Florida State||23|
|San Diego St||7||FINAL|
|Texas Tech||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(24) Oklahoma State|
|Appalachian St||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(11) UCLA||9/25/14 9:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Middle Tennessee||9/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|(25) Kansas State|
|Tennessee||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Vanderbilt||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Wyoming||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|(9) Michigan State|
|Northwestern||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|TCU||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Iowa||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Tulane||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|So Florida||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Colorado State||9/27/14 11:30 AM|
|Western Mich||9/27/14 11:30 AM|
|Maryland||9/27/14 12:30 PM|
|Akron||9/27/14 12:30 PM|
|Bowling Green||9/27/14 2:00 PM|
|Arkansas||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|(6) Texas A&M|
|Kent State||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Western Ky||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Minnesota||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Wake Forest||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|FIU||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Miami-Ohio||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Colorado||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Texas||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Temple||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|(16) Stanford||9/27/14 3:15 PM|
|TX-San Antonio||9/27/14 4:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/27/14 4:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||9/27/14 5:00 PM|
|(22) Ohio State|
|Rice||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Missouri||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|(13) So Carolina|
|Boise State||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|North Carolina||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Central Mich||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Troy||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|Memphis||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|(10) Ole Miss|
|Duke||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|Texas State||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|(8) Notre Dame||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|(7) Baylor||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|UNLV||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Illinois||9/27/14 8:00 PM|
|Oregon State||9/27/14 9:30 PM|
|Nevada||9/27/14 9:30 PM|
|San Jose St|