Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson was arrested on Nov. 19 for possession of a controlled substance and a probable cause DWI, meaning the team has had three players arrested in as many weeks.
Henderson missed Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers for what coach Leslie Frazier called a “personal issue,” and both the coach and player said Wednesday that Henderson is still dealing with a matter unrelated to the arrest. Henderson will play Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Frazier said, but he will not start.
Henderson apologized to his teammates and the organization on Wednesday, saying, “I have been given the tools and the resources by the organization and the sources to help me along and further myself in this process and continue to become the person that I know I can be going forward.”
According to a statement from the Eden Prairie police department, Henderson was arrested at 3:19 a.m. on Nov. 19 at the Frederick-Miller Spring in Eden Prairie. He was booked into the Eden Prairie police station, then released, and has yet to be charged with a crime. He called the arrest a “strange situation” but would not elaborate.
Henderson filed a petition in Hennepin County District Court on Tuesday, challenging the state’s implied consent statute and requesting to keep his license. That move, attorney David Valentini said, is standard for all of his clients facing DWI charges; without it, the incident can stay on a defendant’s record, even if he or she is acquitted of charges, and can lead to aggravated charges in any future drunken-driving incidents.
According to Henderson’s petition, the arresting officer did not have “articulable grounds to make an investigatory stop” because Henderson was not speeding or driving erratically and did not fail a field sobriety test after he was pulled over. The petition also claims the officer told Henderson that refusal to submit to a breath test was a crime, effectively coercing him into the test and violating his constitutional rights.
Wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who is facing two counts of DWI after being arrested Nov. 9 and has also retained Valentini, has also filed a petition challenging the state’s implied consent law. Both players’ civil cases will be heard after conclusion of the criminal process.
At his Wednesday news conference, Frazier said he found out about Henderson’s arrest shortly after it happened but added that Henderson missed practice and the Packers game because of the personal matter, not because of any discipline from the team.
“I kept referring to the fact that it just wouldn’t be wise for me to go into any detail about that situation. And really it’s not any different here with Erin’s situation,” Frazier said. “I mentioned last week that he was dealing with a personal matter, and that was absolutely the truth. There are some things I can’t talk about involving that situation.”
Former Vikings cornerback A.J. Jefferson, who was released last week after a domestic assault arrest, was charged Wednesday with one count of felony domestic assault by strangulation.
“The fact that we have had three recent off-field situations is unacceptable and disappointing,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement. “Our organization looks at each situation and the circumstances involved to determine our actions with those players and how to best move forward.
“The Vikings have a comprehensive approach with our player development program and excellent resources that are a part of this organization, but certainly we will take a methodical look at how we can improve upon our current programs to prevent these situations in the future.”
- Previously covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press
- Also covered Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild and Washington Nationals
- Twin Cities native and University of Minnesota graduate