Dude, Where's My Career?

The fears that have surfaced over the last month were confirmed Thursday when the Vikings were informed that, for the second time in eight months, they will lose Onterrio Smith to a drug suspension.

The story of Onterrio Smith and his penchant for marijuana has followed him for years. It cost him a potential starting job at Tennessee and led to his dismissal from the team. It cost him four games last season and now it's going to cost him all of the 2005 season and, most likely, his Vikings career.

The Vikings were informed Thursday that Smith would be suspended for one year, although VU has been told the suspension wasn't for testing positive or had anything to do with the Whizzinator debacle. Instead, the suspension is the result of missing a mandatory drug test, which, in NFL terms, qualifies as an automatic suspension.

Smith becomes the 18th player since the policy was put in place in 1995 to receive a one-year suspension. Players who are in the third stage of the league's substance abuse program are subject to as many as 10 tests a year -- which makes it difficult to beat drug tests by natural means.

The Vikings won't be on the hook for Smith's 2005 salary and it won't count against the team's salary cap. Several players expressed support for Smith, but the prevailing feeling is that he brought on his problems himself -- going from S.O.D. to S.O.L. in a hurry.

FRIDAY NOTES
* Cryptic quote of the week: Mike Tice to VU Nov. 6, 2004 -- "Onterrio has the type of personality like Randy (Moss) has. He thinks he's invincible. He thinks nobody can tackle him -- which is pretty accurate."
* Corey Chavous and Brian Williams continued to sit out the final day of the four-day camp.
* Rookies Troy Williamson and Ciatrick Fason were excused from Thursday's practice to attend a league-sponsored rookie function in L.A.
* The next developmental camp will start June 1.

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