The NFL confirmed Monday what has been known for months now: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the regular season and fined an additional game check for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Simpson was arrested for having 2½ pounds of marijuana shipped to his Kentucky home in September. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail, which he already served, three years of probation, 200 hours of community service and was required to pay a $7,500 fine and court costs after pleading guilty to a prohibited act relating to a controlled substance. Authorities said they found another pound of marijuana inside his house.
Simpson will be eligible to return to the Vikings' active roster on Monday, Sept. 24, following the team's Sept. 23 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Simpson remains eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. He has been an active participant in the team's voluntary organized team activities to date and is expected to participate in next week's minicamp.
Simpson admitted last week that it is frustrating knowing he won't be available for the first three games.
"It is because I won't be out there with my guys playing the game I love, but it's the technicality of my situation," Simpson said.
Last week, the speedy wide receiver gained a lot of publicity for a diving catch over cornerback Chris Cook 40 yards downfield on a pass from quarterback Christian Ponder.
"It was crazy!" Ponder said. "He plucked it right off the guy's head. That shows me that I can trust him. I can throw it down field and he's going to go make a play."
Simpson, in his first season with the Vikings after signing a one-year, $2 million contract in April, has been gaining a rapport with Ponder in the last month.
"We're not completely there yet. That's practice, but we're getting on that same page where he's starting to know, OK, this is how he runs this route and this is where I need to throw the ball to," Simpson said.
"He finds ways to get open and he's so fast and runs great routes," Ponder said. "I think he's really starting to understand what he's doing and we're definitely building chemistry. He's definitely a guy I look for down field and he looks good."
As a result of the suspension, Simpson will lose four game checks from his base salary, a loss of $188,235. In addition, more than 50 percent of his contract is loaded with incentives. A large part of those is $950,000 of per-game bonuses, according to NFL.com. Missing three of the 16 regular-season games would cost him an additional $178,125.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
NFL confirms Simpson's three-game suspension
Viking Update Top Stories
Preview: Vikings facing aggressive EaglesThe Minnesota Vikings’ continued success on Sunday will be predicated on their ability to handle and exploit the aggressiveness of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Viking Update7:26 PM
Key matchup: Former teammates face offOnly time will tell who got the better of the Sam Bradford trade to the Minnesota Vikings, but he and Carson Wentz will face each other Sunday after the trade that surprised them…
Viking Update7:06 AM
Vikings podcast: Spielman, Bradford and moreThe Minnesota Vikings are showing the fruits of some solid roster building and coaching. Their record, their stats and their depth prove it, as a talk with Rick Spielman showed.
Viking Update6:17 AM
Vikings rush offense needs to improveThe Minnesota Vikings are the lone unbeaten team in the NFL, yet they are failing at one of the typical telltale signs of a winning team - being able to control the clock with a…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 8:23 PM