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StarCaps appeal moves forward

On the same day that the Minnesota Vikings are getting their quarterback for the 2009 season, the question of whether their two starting defensive tackles will be available for the first four games is closer to being resolved.

Per the Minneapolis Star Tribune, oral arguments were scheduled for this morning in the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, the same city into which Brett Favre arrived earlier this hour.

At issue is the May 22 decision of Judge Paul Magnuson, a federal jurist who decided that the claims made by Kevin and Pat Williams under Minnesota drug-testing laws supersede the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the players union.

If the three-judge panel on the Eighth Circuit agrees with Magnuson, the state-court case will continue, and the Williamses will be able to play until the litigation is resolved.

If the Eighth Circuit disagrees, the state-court case will be scuttled. Barring the intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court on an emergency basis, both players will serve four-game suspensions arising from the ingestion of StarCaps, an over-the-counter supplement that secretly had been spiked with a banned substance.

It previously has been reported that the Eighth Circuit plans to issue a final decision before the start of the NFL regular season.