Vikings have most arrests since 2011, but numbers across NFL are down
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The Minnesota Vikings have had 11 players account for 14 arrests since 2011, the most in the NFL.
However, numbers across the NFL are down in 2014 as only 20 arrests (19 players) have been made from January 1 through Friday, June 27 -- the fewest since 2004, per a USA Today database.
Only three of the aforementioned Vikings are still on the team: Jerome Simpson, Jerome Felton and Adrian Peterson. The charges were ultimately dropped against Peterson, who was picked up in Houston after an officer alleged that he took "an aggressive stance."
Even without counting Peterson, the Vikings top any other NFL team since 2011 after having four arrests in 2013-14. Minnesota leads the Detroit Lions (10), Cincinnati Bengals (10) and Denver Broncos (10), but the Vikings count for just one of the 20 arrests in the NFL since January 1 of this year.
The next month will be telling for the league to see if the dent in their employee incarceration continues. Players are off for five weeks before training camps open at the end of July.
"Well I told them that they want to be professionals," first-year head coach Mike Zimmer said after the Vikings' final minicamp practice on June 19. "I want to make sure that everybody understands that we've got a bunch of guys counting on one another."
The NFC North has one of the highest rates of arrest as the Lions (10) and Chicago Bears (8) are also often in trouble off the field since 2011. The Packers have had four arrests in the previous three years.
Only 1 of 32 teams, the Houston Texans, is without an arrest in that time period.
Though the NFL is trending in the right direction after as many as 45 arrests from Jan. 1 to June 27 in 2008, the most prominent arrest this offseason was Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. Police found "numerous" bottles of prescription pills and over $29,000 in cash on Irsay, 54, when he was pulled over for erratic driving in March, per the Indy Star.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to hand down any punishment to Irsay, instead saying he'll let the legal process play itself out before any judgment. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has already cried foul about a double standard between owners and players. Irsay was allowed to attend the NFL owners spring meeting in Atlanta last month.
Players have ran into trouble with the league for violating its own rules as Daryl Washington and Josh Gordon both face year-long suspensions for failed drug tests, but that's a blip on the national radar compared to recent offseason headlines.
It's been a year since former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, and that incident along with a growing awareness has spurned an increased effort by the league to educate players.
The NFL Rookie Symposium, which among other topics aims to preach smart decision making, wrapped up on Saturday for 256 first-year players, including 10 Vikings.
Certain players with a history of off-field trouble have given speeches to rookies at previous symposiums, such as Adam 'Pacman' Jones and Nick Fairley. This year, former Vikings receiver Cris Carter was among a group of former players asked to speak. Carter also spoke at the 2010 event, telling rookies: "Your friends start saying, 'Oh, man, I knew you were gonna change as soon as you got into the league."
"Yeah, you better change."