The Vikings have re-signed wide receiver Jerome Simpson, the fourth unrestricted free agent to re-sign with the team, joining quarterback Matt Cassel, defensive end Everson Griffen and offensive lineman Joe Berger as returners to the team.
Simpson spent the last two years with the Vikings on one-year contracts and that is the case again this year, according to Vikings general manager Rick Spielman.
But the Vikings signed Simpson not knowing if he will face an NFL-imposed suspension after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving last December. The league is continuing to look into the possibility of a suspension.
"There were some circumstances in the arrest. I know that Coach (Mike) Zimmer has spoken with Jerome, and I know (offensive coordinator) Norv Turner knows Jerome and watched tape on him," Speilman said. "… He does have explosive speed down the field and does give us a vertical threat, but we felt confident enough and comfortable enough after the new coaching staff had met with him and understand the whole circumstance behind that last arrest that we re-signed him back to a one-year deal."
Simpson's first season with the Vikings was derailed by a three-game suspension to start the 2012 season and then a nerve injury that limited his production and caused him to lose some of his explosiveness. That suspension was a result of violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse after pleading guilty to a prohibited act relating to a controlled substance for possession of 2½ pounds of marijuana in his home.
He played in 12 games in 2012, catching 26 passes for 274 yards and no touchdowns.
Last year, he played in all 16 games, making six starts and finishing the season with 48 catches for 726 yards and one touchdown. His 726 receiving yards were a single-season career high. He led the Vikings with two 100-yard receiving games – 140 at Detroit on Sept. 8 and 124 vs. Pittsburgh Sept. 29.
Prior to joining the Vikings, Simpson had his breakout season with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011. He started 14 of 16 games in his first season as a full-time starter, catching 50 passes for 725 yards and four touchdowns. His best-known moment was a 360-degree leaping flip over a defender for a 19-yard touchdown Dec. 24 vs. Arizona, his final touchdown as a Bengal.
Re-signing Simpson gives the Vikings four solid receivers – Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Simpson and Jarius Wright, along with Rodney Smith and Adam Thielen. Joe Webb remains an unrestricted free agent.
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.
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