Smith Might Play Week 1

For the last month, it has been all but assured that Onterrio Smith would begin his four-game suspension with the first four games of the season. Now it looks like that isn't etched in stone.

The NFL has an appeals process in place as part of its collective bargaining agreement with players that allows them to appeal fines or suspensions. This process may help the Vikings and their depleted running back corps be a little deeper come Sunday for the regular season opener.

The league office closed for the holiday weekend without an official decision being made as to Onterrio Smith's appeal of a four-game suspension for a positive test in the league's substance abuse policy. His appeal must officially be heard before a decision can be made.

In the case of DE Kenny Mixon, his two-game suspension was appealed and lost and, as a result, he can't have contact with the team for two weeks -- starting tomorrow.

With the league not ruling on the appeal, if it drags into next week, the suspension likely wouldn't start until Week 2, which means Smith would be available to play in Week 1.

The Vikings are still awaiting word, but, if the league office is indeed closed until Tuesday, it will be difficult to see the league waiting until mid-week to pull the rug out from under Smith.

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