Zimmer on Kearse arrest: ‘I’m very, very ticked off’

Published 7:22 am Thursday, October 31, 2019

EAGAN — Though the Minnesota Vikings welcomed a weekend off at the midpoint of their season, the mini-break didn’t prove to be all rest and relaxation.

The mood for coach Mike Zimmer turned sour when he learned of the late-night arrest of one of his players, Jayron Kearse. The backup free safety and special teams captain was charged on Tuesday with drunken driving and carrying a gun without a permit, after he was stopped by a state trooper while traveling on a closed section of Interstate 94 in Minneapolis early Sunday.

“I’m very, very ticked off,” Zimmer said on Wednesday. “Since I’ve been here the last six years, I’ve worked extremely hard to clean up the reputation of this organization and this team off the field. We’ve put in a lot of resources for them to not have these kinds of issues, and for them to do that is really idiotic.”

Email newsletter signup

Two other people were in the car with Kearse, including Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes. After Kearse failed a preliminary breath test, according to the criminal complaint, the second officer went to check on the male passenger, Hughes, who had the door open and was vomiting. That’s when the gun was discovered.

Any discipline for Kearse, under the jurisdiction of the collective bargaining agreement, would come from the NFL.

“I feel like he let me down. He let the team down. He let his teammates down, the organization down,” Zimmer said.

Kearse apologized for his actions while speaking on Monday to reporters.

“It’s not a reflection of who I am as a person or what this organization stands for,” he said. “The team and these fans deserve better. I definitely take this matter seriously, and I’m sorry for putting anybody in harm’s way and I will go through all the necessary steps to improve myself.”

The Vikings, who play at Kansas City this week, had last weekend off after their win over Washington on Thursday. Zimmer was upbeat afterward, with the team on a four-game winning streak.