Oh No! They Cut Kenny!

The writing was on the wall Saturday when Kenny Mixon's name wasn't mentioned when discussing the Vikings' rotation at defensive end. Now we know why.

It should have come as a tip-off when Mike Tice was discussing the logjam of defensive linemen that were going to be competing for time in the Vikings line rotation following the drafting of Erasmus James in the first round. While coach Mike Tice discussed the options, one name conspicuously absent from the list was DE Kenny Mixon.

We found out why Monday when Mixon was released, just two months after accepting a pay cut from $3.6 million to $750,000. Mixon, who has had several run-ins with the law concerning alcohol-related offenses, was suspended for two games to start the 2004 season and, with the infusion of younger talent like James, Kenechi Udeze and Darrion Scott at the DE position, Mixon's value to the team was diminished to the point that even his $750,000 salary was deemed too much.

The same was true for St. John's receiver Blake Elliott, who was released after the drafting of Troy Williamson. Linebacker Mike Nattiel, who had been called out by Tice a couple of times last year and threatened with his release, was also cut Monday -- despite the Vikings taking no linebackers in the draft.

MONDAY NOTE
* While three players were sent packing Monday, three more were officially brought on board -- defensive tackles Eric Coleman (Clemson) and David Harley (Rutgers) and offensive tackle David Obeng (San Jose State).
* The Vikings' undrafted free-agent signings became official: LB Sarth Benoit (Southern Connecticut State), QB John Bowenkamp (North Dakota), DT Eric Coleman (Clemson), LB Ira Cooper (Nebraska), CB Dovonte Edwards (North Carolina State), LB Heath Farwell (San Diego State), DT David Harley (Rutgers), WR Christopher Jones (Jackson State), T Rian Melander (Minnesota), K Jonathan Nichols (Mississippi), T William Obeng (San Jose State), TE Matt Ross (Texas Lutheran) and C Kyle Schmitt (Maryland).


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