The Minnesota Vikings have endured their fair share of trouble off the field in recent seasons, with several players arrested for a variety of legal mishaps. The latest incident occurred earlier this week when Erin Henderson, Vikings linebacker, was arrested for drunk driving.
Police officials say Henderson was arrested after he drove his SUV off the side of a road in Carver County, MN. The accident took place a little after three in the morning and resulted in four criminal charges for Henderson, including DWI test refusal. The accident left Henderson’s car seriously damaged, but thankfully no one seriously injured.
When officers arrived at the scene of the accident they say Henderson appeared to be intoxicated and that Henderson failed a field sobriety test. Henderson was charged with a DWI, test refusal, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and violation of the terms of his Minnesota limited driver’s license. Henderson was booked and released quickly after posting his $12,000 bail.
Though the news of a DWI arrest is already unfortunate for Henderson and the Vikings, it’s even worse in this case because the arrest marks the second such drunk driving incident for Henderson in less than two months. Henderson was initially arrested for DWI as well as possession of a controlled substance back in November of last year.
The Vikings have not yet released a statement on the matter, saying only that they are aware of the incident and are attempting to gather more information before making an official comment. Experts familiar with the case say they expect the Vikings to release Henderson from his contract with the team once they are allowed to do so. Henderson has so far played for the Vikings for six seasons.
The problem of drunk driving in the NFL is a serious one and investigation after investigation has revealed the increasing difficulty the league has keeping players off the road after drinking. Between 2007 and the end of the most recent season some 90 players were arrested on drunk driving charges. The issues appear to be worsening, with 40 percent of the total player arrests in the past year being related to drunk driving, higher than the previous rate of 28 percent.
The NFL has launched programs to counter the drunk driving trouble, offering players credits with the ride service Uber as well subsidized car services in other cities. Some have criticized the NFL for failing to take swifter action to punish players convicted of drunk driving. One study found that only 25 percent of all players arrested for DWI were ever suspended. Most of the harshest punishments only happened after the players received multiple charges.
Source: “Vikings linebacker drove off road before DUI arrest,” by Tom Pelissero, published at USAToday.com.