Vikings’ Simpson understands salary cut
Jerome Simpson set a career high last season for receiving yards and was two catches shy of his best season ever in that category. So what then happened in free agency?
His salary was cut by more than half.The Vikings wide receiver was arrested last November on suspicion of DWI and eventually pleaded guilty to two lesser charges. It was his second brush with the law in two years and played a role in his salary being cut from $2.1 million in 2013 to $1 million for his third straight one-year deal with Minnesota.“I can’t lie. I was definitely surprised that I get paid less than what I got last year,” Simpson told the Pioneer Press after Wednesday’s organized team activity session. “I had my best numbers. But I guess when you got that negative thing on you, they kind of got you behind the 8-ball.”Simpson ranked second on the team in 2013, his sixth season in the NFL, with 48 receptions and with 726 yards. He received a $500,000 signing bonus when he got a new contract last year, but he has no guaranteed money in his latest deal.“I know I’m worth more than what (the current contract) was,” Simpson said. “But I made my bed, so I got to lay in it. I got to just keep improving and move on and make plays. When it’s time to get paid or whatever and get the contract I deserve, then it’s going to happen.”Simpson pleaded guilty in 2012 regarding a 2011 incident in which he admitted he mailed 2 pounds of marijuana to his home in northern Kentucky. Simpson was with the Cincinnati Bengals at the time of the incident before initially signing with the Vikings in 2012. He was suspended by the NFL for the first three games of 2012.Last November, Simpson was arrested in Minneapolis on suspicion of DWI. He pleaded guilty in January to refusing to submit to a chemical test and to careless driving.Simpson said he had “a couple” of other offers when he became a free agent after last season. But he wouldn’t be specific.“I really wanted to come back (to Minnesota),” he said. “That was my first option.”One of the reasons Simpson re-signed is because he believes the Vikings “definitely” have the ability to win the Super Bowl this season under new coach Mike Zimmer. Despite his disappointment with his contract, he did say he’s grateful the Vikings “believed” in him.Whether Simpson will be able to play in the regular-season opener Sept. 7 at St. Louis remains to be seen. The NFL has yet to announce any possible penalties regarding the plea bargain he accepted last January, and Zimmer wouldn’t speculate on what might happen.When Simpson played for the Bengals from 2008-11, Zimmer was Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator. Simpson said he has a good relationship with the coach.“I love Zim,” Simpson said. “He’s a fiery coach. I just like the way he approaches the game in a professional manner, teaching us discipline. He just wants us to succeed. He believes in players, some people would say, that are down and bringing them back to life.”Considering his legal troubles, Simpson could be viewed as a reclamation project. After his arrest last season, Simpson lost his starting job to rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, although that might have happened eventually anyway because Patterson was improving each week.With Greg Jennings being Minnesota’s leading returning receiver, Simpson probably is again in line to not start. Regardless, Zimmer is pleased to be reunited with Simpson.“Jerome’s always been a great athlete,” Zimmer said. “He can run like crazy. He’s catching the ball well. … He’s a guy that can stretch a field, and he’s doing a lot of really good things.”The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.