Jerome Simpson to sit 3 games

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who had appealed a three-game suspension handed down by the league following a drunken-driving arrest last November, will have to serve that sentence at the beginning of the 2014 season.

Simpson's appeal was denied, the league announced Friday. He will be suspended without pay and won't be eligible to return to the active roster until Sept. 22, following Minnesota's Week 3 game at New Orleans.

Simpson was arrested for drunken driving last Nov. 9 in Minneapolis and pleaded guilty in January to lesser charges of careless driving and refusing to submit to a chemical test.

The suspension is his second in three years. Simpson was suspended for the first three games of the 2012 season after he pleaded guilty to mailing two pounds of marijuana to his house in Kentucky while he was playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. He served 15 days in jail for that offense and was placed on three years' probation.

The receiver, who re-signed with the Vikings on a one-year, $1 million deal, caught 48 passes for a career-high 726 yards in 2013. His absence, however, means the Vikings will have to rely on wideouts such as Jarius Wright in multiple-receiver sets, as well as undrafted free agent Adam Thielen and Rodney Smith, who were both bidding to make the final roster.

The Vikings do not owe Simpson any guaranteed money, meaning he could be cut without penalty at any point.