The Minnesota Vikings released cornerback A.J. Jefferson on Monday, hours after he was arrested on a domestic assault charge. Jefferson, in his fourth season, was arrested by the Eden Prairie police department on probable cause of domestic assault just before 7:00 a.m. CST.
The Eden Prairie Police Department said in a statement that a 23-year-old woman reported she was a victim of domestic assault at about 4:30 a.m. CST. Jefferson was arrested at his home and is now in Hennepin County Jail.
Jefferson’s arrest is the second of a Vikings player this month. Receiver Jerome Simpson was arrested on a drunken-driving charge November 9th. The Vikings haven’t released Simpson, and even though he is not in the starting lineup for two of their last games, he still played 47 snaps and caught two passes on Sunday against the Packers.
Coach Leslie Frazier said he could not comment on the reasons why the Vikings released Jefferson so quickly, other than to say the league rules on how teams can discipline a player for legal trouble are the same regardless of the type of offense.
Jefferson began the season as the Vikings’ fourth cornerback, after the team acquired him in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals before the start of the 2012 season, but he had struggled in pass coverage and missed time with an ankle injury this season, as well. He has five tackles and an interception for Minnesota (2-8-1) this season.
This couldn’t come at a worse time for the Vikings; they are stretched thin in the secondary because of injuries. Josh Robinson missed yesterday’s game because of a fractured sternum, and rookie Xavier Rhodes will have to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol before he can return to the field.
Frazier said the Vikings might have to look at adding depth to their cornerback position this week, though he said safety Robert Blanton played well at the position on Sunday.