The Minnesota Vikings are heading into the 2009 season with high expectations. Those expectations could soar even higher if Brett Favre comes out of retirement yet again to sign with the hated rival of the Green Bay Packers.
Yet looming in the background of a season that many speculate as "the year" is the Pat and Kevin Williams saga.
Late last year, the two standout defensive linemen tested positive for a substance known as Bumetanide, a substance commonly used to mask the use of illegal steroids.
While the pair denied the use of steroids and subsequent drug tests have found no evidence of steroid use, Bumetanide is still a banned substance. Thus prompting the league to hand out a four-game suspension.
A judge originally ruled to allow them to play last season, but it appears as that was only a short term reprieve from the inevitable suspension.
U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson has dismissed the Players' Association lawsuit, meaning the coming suspension is only a matter of time.
The league was quick to make a statement in support of the judge's decision.
The question now is, when will they be required to serve their four-game suspension?
Conventional wisdom would suggest they drop their attempts to have it stalled and serve it the first four games of the season.
If they continue to stall, they could be in for some trouble down the stretch facing teams with power running games, such as Baltimore and Pittsburgh in back-to-back weeks or Chicago, Carolina, and the New York Giants all at end of the season.
If anything can be learned from the disaster that was Maurice Clarett, it's that the NFL gets its way in federal court.