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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, ending a three-year court fight.
The league announced the suspension on Friday, nine days before the Vikings open the season at San Diego on Sept. 11. Williams was initially suspended for four games before the court struggle ensued, but the league reduced that suspension and fined Williams an additional two game checks.
Williams and former teammate Pat Williams had been embroiled in a long court fight over their positive tests for the banned diuretic bumetanide in 2008. They argued that the supplement StarCaps did not include the ingredient on its label.
In April, the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Pat Williams, who is a free agent and has not signed with a team.
The Vikings were off Friday and unavailable for comment.
The suspension could help Kevin Williams, who is dealing with a painful case of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Taking the first two weeks of the season off could give it more time to heal, even though Williams said this week that he expected to play through pain all season.
There is no question that his absence is a big blow to the Vikings defense. The former All-Pro is the anchor of the defensive line and one of the most versatile players at his position in the game, excelling both at stopping the run and rushing the passer.
The Vikings likely will rely on LeTroy Guion and rookie fourth-rounder Christian Ballard to pick up the slack. Both performed well in the preseason.
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