Mixon Trial Set For Feb. 12

With a league suspension looming in front of him, chances of a plea bargain broke down this week and Kenny Mixon will go on trial for a drinking and driving offense Feb. 12.

It's clear that Kenny Mixon has had his difficulties when it comes to drinking and driving. In just the last year and a half, Mixon has been arrested three times on drinking-related driving charges. But this time, it not only could cost him his Vikings career, but it could make him a hot potato for other teams to take as well.

Any attempts at plea bargains failed this week so Thursday a court date was set for Mixon -- Feb. 12. He faces charges of refusing to take a sobriety test, open bottle and driving under revocation. Mixon's license was taken away after a previous refusal to take a breath test, which results in an automatic one-year suspension of his driving privileges.

One of the reasons VU is being told that Mixon refused to plea bargain the charges down is because of the NFL's policy toward drinking and driving. It is said that Mixon had "at least one" drinking and driving offense while with the Dolphins. He was convicted in July 2002 of similar charges -- refusing a breath test and open bottle. In January 2003 he was found not guilty (different from innocent) on similar charges. It was believed then that if another drinking-related conviction hit his record, he would be subject to a minimum four-game suspension by the league -- which explains his unwillingness to plea bargain out.

With a trial date set for Feb. 12, Mixon will again hope his attorneys can sway a jury in his favor. If not, he will be subject to suspension by the league and his future with the Vikings would be tenuous at best.

FRIDAY NOTES
* A Twin Cities sports columnist is making a push for Jeff Diamond to return to the Vikings. When Diamond was the de facto general manager, the Vikings paid so much to keep their own players they were strapped to the wall by the salary cap for five years. As he leaves the Titans, the teamsis projected to be $16.4 million over the 2004 salary cap. Diamond is an agent's best friend, but not necessarily an owner's.
* After taking more than a week to decide, Sean Salisbury turned down Denny Green's offer to become his quarterbacks coach -- opting to remain with the more certain long-term money of ESPN.
* Mike Tice and some of his coaches returned to Winter Park yesterday after scouting players at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

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