Judge upholds Williams Wall suspensions

A Hennepin County judge ruled that the NFL violated Minnesota law in the way they suspended Pat and Kevin Williams, but he still upheld the suspensions. Still, the case isn't quite done yet.

The Vikings could be without starting defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams to start the season after a ruling by a Hennepin County (Minn.) judge.

Judge Gary Larson said the fact that the NFL violated Minnesota state law in applying its drug policy wasn't enough to stop the league's four-game suspensions that the two were handed in 2008 in the StarCaps case.

While appeals are nearly certain to take place — the Court of Appeals likely will be the next stop — this ruling means the Williamses are that much closer to being replaced by Jimmy Kennedy and Fred Evans for a four-game stretch.

A key for the Vikings and the Williamses will be if Larson reinstates his injunction, pending the appeal. Larson told lawyers from the players and the league to submit briefs and plans to make a ruling on that in the next two weeks.

The Vikings' opening four games of the 2010 season include three against teams that finished in the top six in the NFL in rushing offense last year.

The Vikings will begin the season Sept. 9 against New Orleans, which was sixth in the NFL in rushing and will turn to Pierre Thomas as its primary running back. The Vikings also will face the Dolphins (fourth), Lions (24th) and the New York Jets (first).

Kennedy was re-signed to a two-year, $6 million contract in March after becoming a free agent, and Evans received a second-round tender as a restricted free agent that will pay him $1.8 million in 2010.

The two have been valuable backups who received time when one of the Williamses came out, but their jobs could be that much more important. Evans likely would play the nose tackle in place of Pat Williams, and Kennedy likely would replace Kevin Williams at the under tackle.

Kennedy had three sacks last season. Evans was a surprise inactive in Week 1 and ended up playing in 13 games. However, the Vikings would not have put a second-round tender on him if they did not like him.

The Vikings have two other defensive tackles on their depth chart with 2008 fifth-round pick Letroy Guion and free-agent signed Tremaine Johnson, who spent last season on the practice squad.

NOTES

  • Kicker Ryan Longwell, an avid golfer, plans to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open starting next Monday at a course near his home in Windermere, Fla. "I've been working hard," Longwell said. "I've been really working hitting a bunch of wedges, chipping and putting and have been playing pretty well. It's one of those things where I've always wanted to try it but never really gave it a go." If Longwell gets through his first qualifying, he will make it to the 36-hole sectional qualifying in Hobe Sound, Fla.

  • Cornerback Chris Cook, the Vikings' second-round pick, said he would have been open to moving to safety if that's what the team wanted. Cook is 6-2, 212 pounds, leading many to believe he might be better at safety. The Vikings have made it clear that won't happen. "I was pretty much open to anything," Cook said. "If a team wanted to move me to safety I was more than willing to make that transition. I just want to help the Vikings win games."

  • Although he was not signed, one of the players the Vikings invited to tryout at their recent three-day rookie camp was defensive end Dexter Manley II., the son of the former NFL star.

  • The soon-to-be published Football Outsiders Almanac reports that wide receiver Percy Harvin led the NFL last season with 25 broken tackles in 2009. New England's Wes Welker was next with 16.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "He was a major influence in my career. Not only was he a great coach, he was better man. He was a great friend and I will miss him dearly. I will always love him." — Vikings defensive end Jared Allen on the influence of his first NFL defensive line coach, Bob Karmelowicz, who recently passed away at the age of 60.

  • Up Next


    Tweets