"First and foremost I would like to apologize to the team, to the fans for actions over this past weekend," Kearse said. "It's not a reflection of who I am as a person or what this organization stands for. 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 fourth-year safety was arrested around 4 a.m. Sunday after a Minnesota State Patrol officer pulled over Kearse's Mercedes after he drove around a barricade onto the closed portion of eastbound I-94 in Minneapolis. Kearse registered a .10 blood alcohol concentration, and the arresting officer found a unregistered loaded firearm in the vehicle.
Kearse said he has not heard from the NFL and he hasn't spoken directly to Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. As far as his availability for Minnesota's Week 9 game at Kansas City, Kearse did not divulge whether he will face any consequences in the short term.
"I'd rather not speak on that," he said. "That's not really my decision. That's the coaches' decision. And whatever the decision is I'm going to live with it. I've got to suffer the consequences.''
Kearse, a special-teams captain, has seen his playing time decrease as of late and has not registered a snap on defense since the Vikings' win over the Eagles in Week 6. Feeling "shaken up" after his arrest, Kearse said he's thankful for the support of his teammates and the Vikings organization and plans to earn back the trust he lost.
"When that was given to me (captain distinction), it was a lot put on my shoulders and obviously so far I haven't handled it well with this decision," Kearse said. "Having guys just coming into this league and they see me being a captain so they expect a certain level of things from me and I didn't show that."
While it is unclear whether the league or Vikings will choose to discipline Kearse in the form of a suspension, Minnesota does have a bit of good news coming its way this week. Cornerback Holton Hill returns after he spent the past eight weeks sidelined by two separate suspensions handed down from the NFL -- one for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs and another for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
When his second suspension was handed down in July, Hill spent most of training camp taking fourth-team reps, which he called a "humbling experience." He remained in Minnesota throughout his suspension and was allowed to be in the team facility for the past four weeks.
"It was tough. But I tried to use it as a positive aspect, just watch and let it motivate me to go harder, just so I can come back and match their energy," Hill said. "Just being really attentive in meetings. And when I was able to work out, just going hard and realizing when I was out that I wanted to come back full speed."
Hill is eligible to return to practice this week, which could provide important depth in Minnesota's secondary should he be active in Week 9. While the cornerback said he isn't concerned with being rusty, what his role will be in this defense upon being activated remains unknown.
"I'm just taking it day by day," he said. "I'm willing to do anything from special teams to playing on the defensive side. Whatever the team needs me to do, I'm willing to take on that role."