Mixon To Stand Trial For DWI

Vikings defensive end Kenny Mixon will have to stand trial for his November drunken driving arrest and could face a mandatory league suspension if found guilty.

In an off-season where the Vikings have been addressing many of their short-term and long-term needs, Kenny Mixon has thrown the team a curve that could affect their free agent and draft plans.

Attorneys for Mixon sought to have charges stemming from a drunken driving arrest in November dismissed in court Wednesday. The judge in the case refused to drop the charges and the case will proceed as planned.

Mixon has had multiple drinking and driving offenses, including three since signing with the Vikings two years ago. The latest charges from the November arrest include drunken driving, driving without a valid license and open bottle. Mixon had surrendered his license for one year from a previous alcohol-related incident in which he refused to take a sobriety test -- an automatic one-year suspension under Minnesota law.

From the Vikings' perspective, this potentially causes two problems. If convicted, Mixon faces a mandatory 90-day sentence -- expected to be 30 days in jail and 60 days of home monitoring, which could exclude him from taking part in off-season workouts or even training camp depending on the timing of the trial. Even worse, if convicted, he is almost assured of a minimum four-game suspension from the league, having already been placed in the league's substance abuse program.

With defensive end a position the Vikings have been targeting in the draft and, to a lesser extent, free agency, the potential of being without their starting left DE for a considerable portion of the season isn't something the team wants and could be an issue that is addressed in free agency -- as Mixon's future with the organization could hang in the balance.

* Jermaine Wiggins and his agent rejected an offer from the Panthers yesterday before he boarded a plane for the Twin Cities. His agent is hoping for a contract similar to that given to Byron Chamberlain as a backup to Jim Kleinsasser -- as well as the pass-receiving TE role Chamberlain played with the team.
* Punter Darren Bennett is also expected in town today to meet with team officials.
* The Vikings are also interested in bringing LB Brandon Short of the Giants in for a visit next week.

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