Mixon Found Not Guilty

Kenny Mixon

The Vikings got a shot of good off-field news yesterday when they learned that defensive end Kenny Mixon was found not guilty of drunk driving and won't face league suspension.

While the Vikings hope that their top defensive tackle is available when they are scheduled to draft with the seventh overall pick on April 26, but they did receive some good news yesterday. They probably don't have to worry about the left defensive end position entering training camp.

Kenny Mixon, who started every game for the Vikings last year after being signed as a free agent in 2002, was found not guilty Wednesday of third-degree drunk driving and refusing to take a sobriety test. The case originated when Mixon was pulled over by Golden Valley police on Jan. 3 at 3:10 a.m.

Had Mixon been convicted, there was a chance he could be suspended by the league. Mixon's defense argued that police lacked evidence to subject him to a sobriety test.

With Mixon now set to start the season on the active roster and Chris Hovan, Lance Johnstone and Lorenzo Bromell all under contract for the season, the Vikings will be looking for a defensive tackle to put alongside Hovan and give competition to returning starter Fred Robbins.

THURSDAY NOTES
* The Vikings schedule could be released today, but details of it have already surfaced. The Vikings will reportedly play at Green Bay for the opener on Sept. 7 and host Chicago for a Sunday night game on ESPN the following week. Their only other prime-time game is another Sunday night game, Nov. 2, against Green Bay at the Metrodome. Despite early indications that the Vikings might be scheduled for a Monday night game against Green Bay, the Sunday night prime-time contest looks to have replaced those early thoughts. When the full schedule is officially released, VU will post it. The home and away opponents have been set for some time and can be found by clicking on the "Schedule" link to the left.
* The Vikings have expressed interest in defensive back Ron Israel, who played for Notre Dame through 2001 but went undrafted last year.
* Punter Leo Araguz and running back Hodges Mitchell are also scheduled to visit Winter Park in the near future.
* The Vikings are still trying to work out an extension with quarterback Daunte Culpepper and have the salary-cap space (an estimated $14.5 million) to put a good portion of his signing bonus on this year's tab, but a deal doesn't look to be forthcoming in the immediate future.
* The NFL numbers are in: As of April 1, 84 unrestricted free agents have signed with new teams and 87 have re-signed with their old team. Three restricted free agents have signed with a new team and 31 RFAs have signed with their old team. There were three franchise players, including tight end Jim Kleinsasser, who all signed with their old team (although Peerless Price was subsequently traded to Atlanta). One transition player (Takeo Spikes) signed with a new team (Buffalo), and one transition player (Cletidus Hunt) signed with his old team (Green Bay).

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