The team released Simpson on Thursday, hours after ESPN reported he was cited on July 7 for misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession, driving on a limited license and having an open bottle in a motor vehicle. Simpson has a Nov. 3 arraignment scheduled in Hennepin County for the charges, which came after a traffic stop in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Simpson was not arrested but was cited for the aforementioned charges.
Coach Mike Zimmer said he hadn't heard about Simpson's latest run-in with the law until he was told about it by a team PR person on Thursday, and that he did not want to comment on it until he'd talked with general manager Rick Spielman.
Speaking generally about the team's recent spate of legal trouble, however, Zimmer said, "We're going to look for high-quality guys. We're going to keep guys who care about football, guys who are passionate about playing the game. We're going to continue to get those guys and keep working. There's really nothing I can do about what everybody else says. All I can do is what I think is best at the time."
Simpson was already serving a three-game suspension at the start of the season after he was arrested for drunken driving last November in Minneapolis. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges of reckless driving on Jan. 2, but was still suspended by the NFL. It was his second suspension in three years with the Vikings, following a three-game ban in 2012 stemming from a marijuana-related arrest in Kentucky in '11.
Simpson, who caught 48 passes for a career-high 726 yards last season, was due to return from his most recent suspension Monday. His contract, which was originally scheduled to pay him $1 million for the 2014 season and a roster bonus of $3,125 for every game he was active, was tolled at the beginning of the season because of his suspension, so the Vikings will not owe Simpson any money. As a vested veteran, he would have been eligible for termination pay if they had not released him before activating him from the suspended list.
The terms of his Jan. 2 probation called for Simpson to have no alcohol-related, drug-related or traffic offenses. He could face more legal repercussions and additional league discipline for violating his probation.