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Good news for Vikings? Maybe, maybe not

December 5, 2008 - Per Peterson
A federal judge’s decision Friday to block the National Football League’s suspension of five players means Vikings’ defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams — the Williams Wall — will be able to play in this weekend’s game against the winless Detroit Lions. Too bad. Too bad, you say? A four-game suspension would’ve put the two players on track to return for the first game of this year’s playoffs. Figuring the Vikings would be able to scratch their way into the playoffs with or without the Williamses, I can’t figure out why they just didn’t accept their punishment, take a month off and return fresh for the playoffs. But they didn’t. Instead, like every other pro athlete, they had to fight it. But even if they won this week, what have they really accomplished? The judges, in my opinion, are delaying the inevitable — these two players will eventually be suspended, and the suspension could come at any time — next week, two weeks, a couple of days before the playoffs start, maybe? If that happens, the Vikings will open the playoffs sans two of their best defensive players. The NFL Players’ Association has argued the NFL didn’t properly inform players about the substance in question — a diuretic in a dietary supplement called StarCaps. The NFL’s attorneys, meanwhile argued that that claim, and others, had been considered and rejected in a process set out by the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The NFL says all of its players — let's call them what they are: employees — are responsible for what goes into their bodies. The main issue is whether the NFL had any specific obligation to notify players and the union that it had known since at least 2006 that the weight loss supplement contained the banned diuretic. Now, attorneys on both sides will continue to battle off the field and the players will be allowed to battle on it. A blessing for the Vikings? No way. Two of my kids could play defensive tackle against the Lions and stop their running game. They don't need them this week, and they could still win nine games without them and get into the playoffs. Even when the Vikings catch a break, it's still going to come back to haunt them.


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