Mixon Verdict: Guilty

Following a jury's decision Monday, Vikings DE Kenny Mixon may be at the mercy of the NFL's substance abuse policy heading into the 2004 season.

It took a jury about two-and-a-half hours of deliberation Monday to find Vikings DE Kenny Mixon guilty of drunken driving -- leaving part of his 2004 season in jeopardy.

The guilty verdict also means that Mixon, who has four alcohol-related offenses in the two years since joining the Vikings, will likely spend 30 days in jail as well as 60 days of home-monitored detention.

From the Vikings' standpoint, the worst may be yet to come. With a conviction, the NFL can step in and assign a sanction to Mixon. As part of the league's substance abuse program already, Mixon could be subject to a substantial fine or a four-game suspension.

Because the league is extremely private about its substance abuse program, no immediate word is known as to what form of sanction Mixon will face, but, for a team that has addressed several needs except defensive end in free agency, this comes as a blow to the team.

* As reported last week, the Vikings officially released Hunter Goodwin Monday. The feeling was that the earlier Goodwin was released following the signing of Jermaine Wiggins, the better his chances of hooking on with another team.

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