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Vikings party under police investigation

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (Oct. 12, 2005) -- Investigators are looking into a party attended by several Minnesota Vikings players that allegedly involved drunkenness, nudity and visible sexual activity on a pair of charter cruises last week.

No criminal charges had been filed as of Oct. 12, and it could take a couple of weeks before investigators finish interviewing people who were on the boats, said Sgt. Haans Vitek of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. A police report was filed Oct. 9.

"It doesn't make things any simpler," coach Mike Tice said, "and quite frankly I'm not happy about it."

Stephen Doyle, an attorney representing the boats' owners, has said cornerback Fred Smoot paid for one of the cruises Oct. 6 on Lake Minnetonka. He said about 90 people were on the boats, which returned to shore more than two hours earlier than scheduled when crew members complained about lewd behavior.

Tice, whose team has struggled to a 1-3 start this year, said that the latest distraction "can tear a team apart or bring us together, and it's my job to bring the team together."

Smoot said after practice Oct. 12 that he was planning to take legal action against whomever "put my name in there."

"They're killing my name," Smoot said as he walked to his car in the parking lot. "Point blank. Somebody's going to have to pay for it."

The team released a one-paragraph statement Oct. 11 saying: "The organization has been made aware of the allegations involving our players and we take these allegations very seriously. We are working diligently to gather as many facts as possible. At this time, we have no further comment."

The locker room was mostly empty Oct. 12 during the time it was open to the media, and all the players who spoke refused to comment on the outing. Running back Mewelde Moore said he was on one of the boats, but saw none of the alleged behavior.

"That's crazy. Sex? Come on," said Moore, the team's leading rusher with 187 yards.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf didn't return a phone call or an e-mail requesting comment on the report.

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