Mike Zimmer's NFL head coaching debut just got a bit tougher, as the Minnesota Vikings received word from the league wide receiver Jerome Simpson that has been suspended for the first three games of the season.
The ruling marks Simpson's second three-game suspension in three years for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. The 28-year-old was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in November and later pled guilty to careless driving, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Simpson remained on probation from a 2011 incident after which he spent 15 days in jail for admitting to receiving two pounds of marijuana shipped to his Kentucky home, where police also found another pound of pot. He was prohibited from alcohol use as a result of his guilty plea.
A second-round pick by the Bengals out of Coastal Carolina in 2008, Simpson was Minnesota's second-leading receiver in 2013, hauling in 48 receptions for 726 yards and a touchdown. After signing another none-guaranteed one-year deal worth $1 million, he fell to No. 3 on Zimmer's depth chart behind Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson this preseason.
In Roger Goodell's memo to all 32 teams on Thursday, announcing more severe penalties for domestic abuse and sexual assault violations, the NFL commissioner said the league has also been seeking longer suspensions for driving under the influence.
We are similarly working to strengthen our response to impaired driving. We have sought — unsuccessfully — for several years to obtain the NFLPA’s agreement to more stringent discipline for DUI, including mandatory deactivation for the game immediately following an arrest and a minimum two-game suspension for a first violation of law. We will continue to press our position on this issue in the hope of securing the union’s agreement.
Jarius Wright is expected to take Simpson's snaps in the Vikings' three-wide-receiver sets for their games against the Rams, Patriots and Saints to start the season.
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