Vikings’ Williams Wall and Saints’ Grant and Smith expected to be suspended four games

According to a report by Yahoo Sports, a federal judge has ruled that the NFL can suspend the five players that took StarCaps last season. The five players include Pat Williams and Kevin Williams of Minnesota, Charles Grant and Will Smith of New Orleans, and free agent Deuce McAllister.

A federal judge dismissed the claims of five NFL players who had been suspended last season for use of a banned diuretic in the diet supplement StarCaps. Among the five are four starting defensive linemen for the Vikings and Saints, including Pro Bowl defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams(notes) of Minnesota and starting defensive ends Charles Grant(notes) and Will Smith(notes) of New Orleans.

All four are expected to sit the first four games of next season without pay. Their suspensions had been blocked last season while U.S. district judge Paul Magnuson heard arguments from the league and the NFL Players Association.

The league had suspended the four defensive linemen and then-Saints running back Deuce McAllister(notes) last season after they tested positive for the diuretic Bumetanide, which flushes water from the body and is considered a masking agent for steroids. McAllister is currently unsigned, but also faces a four-game suspension.

This is a massive blow for the Vikings and Saints. Minnesota loses the backbone of its defense, while New Orleans loses its two best pass rushers. A four game suspension only amounts to a fourth of the season, but it’s still enough to have a ripple effect that could carry throughout the rest of the year, especially if one (or both) of the teams starts 1-3 or 0-4.

Perhaps the only good news for both teams is that they now have an entire summer and preseason to prepare for not having these players at the start of the season.

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NFL suspends six, including Deuce McAllister, Pat Williams and Kevin Williams

The NFL suspended six players for the final four games of the regular season for violating the league’s steroid and related substances policy.

Pat Williams & Kevin WilliamsThe suspended players were running back Deuce McAllister and defensive linemen Charles Grant and Will Smith of New Orleans; defensive linemen Kevin and Pat Williams of Minnesota; and long snapper Bryan Pittman of Houston.

The punishment means all six will miss the end of the regular season, an especially harsh blow to Minnesota, which relies heavily on the Williamses in its run defense, which ranks second in the league.
If a player’s team makes the playoffs, the player will be eligible to return to the active roster on Dec. 29.

The suspension of Pat and Kevin Williams, who are not related, may prove to be the most critical.
“In response to this afternoon’s ruling, the Minnesota Vikings are very disappointed in the National Football League’s suspension of Kevin and Pat Williams,” the team said in a statement. “At the appropriate time, we will have further comment.”

First things first – don’t confuse what these players took as being steroids. The league likes to group all banned substances under one umbrella, but a diuretic isn’t the same thing as full-blown steroids. Granted, a diuretic can be used to mask the use of steroids, but in the cases of these six players it looks like the pills were used to cut weight.

This is a massive blow to the Vikings, who just claimed a one game lead in the NFC North. It’s no secret their defense relies on stopping the run and now their two main pieces will miss the final four games. This is huge for the Bears and Packers, although both of those teams have their own issues to sort out.

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