By Joseph Gunther
Jerome Simpson was arrested Saturday on suspicion of drunken driving along Interstate 394.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 190-pound wide receiver had slurred speech, watery eyes and failed a sobriety test according to a patrol spokesman. He refused a breath test at Hennepin County jail and was released early in the afternoon after posting a bond.
“I sincerely apologize for the attention that I have brought to the fans, our community and myself,” Simpson said.
The sixth-year veteran may be in line for another suspension from the NFL. He was previously suspended three games after pleading guilty to a felony drug charge in Kentucky prior to signing with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012.
“We’ll have further clarification as we learn more from the league as well as what we’re going to do internally,” Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said. “But from my standpoint there isn’t a whole lot more that I can add regarding his situation as we are continuing to gather more information.”
The 27-year-old former second round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals is second on the team with 33 receptions, but leads the team in receiving yards with 491 in nine games this season.
Ponder hopes to play Sunday
Christian Ponder suffered a dislocated shoulder to his non-throwing arm during Thursday’s win over the Washington Redskins at Mall of America Field.
He is optimistic that he will be able to start in Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field after feeling “pretty good” Monday.
“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,” he said.
The third-year quarterback was injured when diving for the goal line and colliding with Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall. Whether or he can throw the ball is not in question, but the strength of the shoulder and his ability to take a hit will determine his status for Sunday. Frazier will most likely wait until Friday to name his starting quarterback.
“You don’t want to put him in harm’s way,” Frazier said. “If he can’t protect himself, you wouldn’t want to put him out there. So we’ll have a better idea when we come back on Wednesday and start practicing. He’s made progress, which is encouraging.”
Ponder has re-claimed the starting quarterback role after playing back-to-back good games in the last two games.
Smith hopes to play again this season
When Harrison Smith suffered a turf toe injury on Oct. 13, it was uncertainly if the second-year safety was going to require surgery.
“It’s looking really good for not having surgery,” Smith said. “It’s been very positive so far.
If surgery can be avoided, he will be eligible to come of the injured reserve list with the designation to return on Dec. 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mall of America Field.
“I’m able to walk normally again,” Smith said. I’ll start testing it out soon.”
Smith is fifth the Vikings with 34 total tackles in five games this season. He also is tied for the team lead with two interceptions.
Hall of Fame to display Patterson’s gear
Cordarrelle Patterson set the NFL record for longest kickoff return in NFL history on Oct. 27 when he returned the opening kickoff against the Green Bay Packers at Mall of America Field 109 yards for a touchdown. It also tied then-San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie’s missed field goal return against the Vikings for the longest play in NFL history.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio will display the jersey and shoes worn Patterson on the play in the museum’s Pro Football Today Gallery.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.