After more than two months of inactivity, the potential trial of Pat Williams
and Kevin Williams
is finally moving forward.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson set a June 15 trial date for the Williams Wall in their appeals of four-game suspensions by the NFL. The pair were granted an injunction in December to block the suspensions for testing positive for the banned diuretic bumetanide.
In his ruling, Magnuson said that motions for discovery will be heard May 14. According to what the Williamses' lawyer, Peter Ginsberg of New York, told the Star Tribune, the NFL wanted to delay discovery proceedings pending an appeal, but that motion was denied.
In addition to hearing the legal case to void the suspensions, Pat and Kevin are seeking $10 million in damages. In their case, the players contend that the league was aware that StarCaps, the supplement that caused the positive test, did include bumetanide as one of its ingredients on the packing of the product and didn't warn the players of the unlisted substance.
Both players claimed at the end of the season that they were looking to clear their names and that they believe they had done nothing that would compromise the league's steroid policy. In court documents, both claimed they use StarCaps to help them lose weight. Each has a $400,000 contract bonus for making a prescribed weight during the course of the year. The contract language, however, claims that the players couldn't use any last-minute weight reduction techniques, specifically stating those that would include "the use of diuretics."
The timing of the case will make it less likely that the Vikings will have a chance to implement a backup plan in the event both players are suspended for one to four games should they lose their court case, since the trial will come long after the draft and free agency. It is unclear whether the Vikings will attempt to make additional defensive tackle signings as a hedge to potentially losing both Pro Bowlers for the start of the regular season.
Chad O'Shea, the Vikings assistant coach who was promoted to the position of assistant special teams coach earlier this month, is going to be announced today as the new wide receivers coach for the Patriots. O'Shea, who spent the last three seasons with the Vikings, is going to also have special teams as part of his new job description – technically making his move to New England a promotion. The league forbids assistant coaches to go from one team to another in what is deemed a lateral career move.
With the free agent period to start at 11:01 p.m. local time Thursday, the deal between the Vikings and Texans for QB Sage Rosenfels can technically go through at any time after that.
If the Vikings and Houston agree to the Rosenfels deal, it will be the third time in four years that the Vikings have traded a draft pick for a quarterback. In 2006, the Vikings sent a seventh-round pick and defensive tackle C.J. Mosley to the Jets for Brooks Bollinger. In 2007, the Vikings traded a sixth-round pick in this year's draft to get Kelly Holcomb. In all, the Vikings have used six draft picks to address quarterback: making the trades to get Bollinger and Holcomb, drafting Tarvaris Jackson in 2006 and John David Booty last year, trading a pick to Pittsburgh in order to move up to get Jackson and a pick to the Packers to move up to take Booty.
The job security of former Viking QB Tyler Thigpen got a little stronger Tuesday, as the Chiefs released former starter Damon Huard.
Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky will test free agency because, according to what he told Detroit media members, he was informed by the team that former Viking Daunte Culpepper will be Detroit's starting QB in 2009.
The Vikings will have to wait several more months to find out about the availability of Pat and Kevin Williams for the start of the regular season. Their trial stemming from the StarCaps case was set for June 15.
The Vikings will have to wait until June to find out about the fate of Pat and Kevin Williams.