MINNESOTA SPORTS BRIEFS: Vikings' Felton suspended for three games
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Minnesota Vikings fullback Jerome Felton is being suspended three games without pay for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
The suspension stems from a DUI arrest last year. Felton is eligible to participate in Thursday's preseason finale against Tennessee but won't be able to return the active roster until September 23rd after the Vikings' Week Three game against Cleveland.
The Vikings are receiving some good news regarding defensive tackle Kevin Williams. An MRI revealed he has a hyperextended right knee and bone contusion but no ligament damage. Williams suffered the injury in Sunday's 34-14 preseason loss in San Francisco. The six-time Pro Bowler racked up 30 tackles and two sacks while starting all 16 games last season. Early estimates are that he could be back within three-to-six weeks. Had he torn ligaments in the knee, he could have missed the entire season.
The Vikings have released wide receivers LaMark Brown, Erik Highsmith and Chris Summers, guard Tyler Holmes, defensive ends Lawrence Jackson and Marquis Jackson, linebacker Stanford Keglar, cornerbacks Greg McCoy and Roderick Williams, running backs Bradley Randle and Jerodis Williams, quarterback James Vandenberg and center Camden Wentz. Minnesota hosts Tennessee in the final exhibition game of the year on Thursday night at the Metrodome. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The University of Minnesota football team will hit the practice again today for their final full-blown practice before their season opening game comes on Thursday night. They will have a lighter, walk-through practice tomorrow. Minnesota entertains UNLV to begin the 2013 with a 6 p.m. kickoff on Thursday at TCF Stadium. The Gophers beat the Runnin' Rebels last season in Vegas in triple overtime. Minnesota will release its two-deep depth chart for Thursday's opening game later today.
Golden Gopher head football coach Jerry Kill will headline a luncheon tomorrow in Minneapolis hosted by the program's football booster club. "The Goal Line Club" is hosting the "Gopher Gridiron Luncheon" at Jax Cafe in Minneapolis at 11 a.m. tomorrow and near record attendance is expected. The event is open to anyone and costs $20 per person, which includes a sit-down lunch, a keynote address from the head coach, and a chance to win raffle prizes. The registration deadline is today. Log on to "The Goal Line Club" Webpage for all the details. The Webpage is www.goallineclub.com.
University of Minnesota men's hockey coach Don Lucia has named team captains for the upcoming school year. Senior Nate Condon and junior Kyle Rau will wear the "C" on their sweaters for the season, which gets underway in October. Condon is a forward from Wausau who has scored 78 points in 118 career games. He is only the third player from Wisconsin to ever wear the maroon and gold hockey colors. Rau is a forward from Eden Prairie who has tallied 83 points in 80 career games. The Gophers open the season with the "Ice Breaker" tournament on October 11th at Mariucci Arena against an opponent to be determined.
The Twins return home to open a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals tonight at Target Field. Kevin Correia gets the ball for Minnesota. He is 8-and-10 with a 4.52 ERA in 25 starts this season. KC will counter with James Shields, who is 8-and-8 with a 3.22 ERA. The Twins were idle yesterday, while Kansas City thumped Tampa Bay 11-1.
Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore has been named the WNBA's Western Conference Player of the Week. Moore averaged a league-high 25 points as the Lynx went 2-and-1 for the week. It's her second weekly honor of the season and fourth of her career. The Lynx are in New Jersey to battle the New York Liberty tonight.
Top-seeded Serena Williams rolled to a love, one straight-set victory over Francesca Schiavone on the first day of the U.S. Open. Sister Venus upended 12th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens in straight sets. Second-seeded Rafael Nadal was victorious in straight sets over American Ryan Harrison. American James Blake announced that he will retire following this tournament.
Kurt Busch is leaving Furniture Row Racing after this season. Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Busch to a multi-year contract and he will begin to drive for the team beginning in the 2014 season. The 35-year-old is the fourth driver to join SHR, which already includes owner Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick. Busch and his number-78 car are on the bubble to qualify for NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup. With two races remaining to determine the Chase field, Busch ranks 12th in the standings.