Johnson in the Tank Eight Weeks

The Vikings' chase of the Bears just got one step easier as the league announced that Tank Johnson has been suspended for half of the 2007 regular season.

Many times the team you put together on the field can be ravaged by off-field activities. The Vikings learned that in the months following their own boat scandal and the Bears are learning that lesson this season.

In an offseason in which the team traded running back Thomas Jones and have a threatened holdout from linebacker Lance Briggs, the league office brought the hammer down Monday with an eight-game suspension to defensive tackle Tank Johnson.

Johnson, who was involved in gun incidents that led to a prison sentence and the death of a close friend, was given the half-year suspension by Commissioner Roger Goodell as part of the league's personal conduct policy. While Johnson pleaded his own case to Goodell earlier this month, he accepted the commissioner's ruling in a press conference Monday.

Despite the recent setbacks, the Bears remain the favorite in the NFC North, but their grasp on first place is tenuous at best. Having lost more than they have gained, the defending NFC champions don't look as dominant as some might think heading into the 2007 season.

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