MINNEAPOLIS (April 25, 2005) -- The Minnesota Vikings released veteran defensive end Kenny Mixon and two other players.
Mixon, who had 46 tackles and 2½ sacks last season, ran into trouble off the field several times in his three seasons with the Vikings.
He was suspended for two games last season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
The seven-year veteran started his first 32 games for the Vikings, but became expendable after Minnesota selected Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James 18th overall in Saturday's NFL draft.
James was the third straight defensive lineman drafted by the Vikings in the first round, joining end Kenechi Udeze and tackle Kevin Williams. With last year's third-round pick Darrion Scott emerging as a potential starter, there was no room for Mixon, who spent his first four seasons in Miami.
The Vikings also released receiver Blake Elliott and linebacker Mike Nattiel and signed rookie free-agent defensive tackle David Harley from Rutgers.
Elliott never played in a game for the Vikings after signing last season as a rookie free agent out of Division-III power St. John's in Collegeville, Minn. Elliott broke his left leg during a developmental camp practice in June and was placed on injured reserve.
Nattiel, a third-year player out of Florida, had 22 tackles in limited duty last season.