EAGAN - Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer did not hold back on Wednesday when asked about the weekend arrest of safety Jayron Kearse.
“Well I’m very, very ticked off. Since I’ve been here the last six years, I’ve worked extremely hard to clean up the reputation of this organization, this team off the field. We’ve put in a lot of resources for them to not have these kind of issues and for them to do that is really idiotic,” Zimmer said.
Kearse was back at practice Wednesday afternoon as the Vikings begin preparations to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. But his playing status is not known, and Zimmer said Wednesday it’s “a CBA matter and a league matter.”
Kearse was arrested at about 3:15 a.m. Sunday and is facing charges of DWI and possessing a firearm without a permit. He was charged Tuesday in Hennepin County Court with five misdemeanors. He was pulled over by the Minnesota State Patrol after attempting to go around a barrier on a section of Interstate 94 in Minneapolis that was closed due to construction.
Court documents state authorities observed that Kearse showed signs of intoxication, and a breath test takent at the Hennepin County Jail showed he had a blood alcohol content of .10, above the .08 legal limit for driving in Minnesota. Kearse had a male passenger with him, and when troopers went to check on him, they located a 9mm black Glock handgun on the floor of the passenger side near the floorboard, loaded with 28 rounds and one in the chamber. The male passenger told authorities the gun was not his and didn’t know it was there.
Kearse told authorities at the scene he had been at the Gold Room in downtown Minneapolis and had consumed four drinks. He admitted to owning the gun and said he carries it with him for protection. He also admitted to not having a permit for the gun. Kearse was released from custody Sunday afternoon after posting bond.
The Vikings had the weekend off from football activities after beating the Washington Redskins 19-9 to improve to 6-2 at the halfway point of the season.
Kearse publicly apologized to the team and fans in front of reporters at the Vikings’ practice facility on Monday, saying, “It’s not a reflection of who I am as a person, or what this organization stands for.”
“The team and these fans deserve better. I definitely take this matter very seriously and I’m sorry for putting anybody in harm’s way. I’ll go through all the necessary steps to improve myself,” Kearse said.
Kearse is in his fourth season with the Vikings and has played in all eight games this season. He has 16 tackles on the season, including eight tackles and a pass break-up in Minnesota’s season-opening win over the Atlanta Falcons. He was also named a special teams captain this season.
It’s not the first time Zimmer has had to deal with a player and substance abuse this year. Holton Hill was suspended for the first eight games of the season for two separate violations. He learned in April he would be suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He was suspended an additional four games before training camp for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Zimmer said Wednesday when players violate these league rules, it lets him down, the team down and the organization down.
“Like I said before, I’ve worked really hard to clean this up when I came in here, and we put in a lot of things, resources to help all these players so these kind of things don’t happen. If they happen, it’s really dumb on their part. I’m referring to anybody that gets in trouble,” Zimmer said.
The Vikings travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Kearse declined to comment on his playing status on Monday.
“I’d rather not speak on that. That’s not really my decision, that’s the coach’s decision and whatever the decision is, I’m going to live with it but I’ve got to suffer the consequences,” Kearse said.