Vikings' Williams banned two games for drug violation

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams has been suspended for the first two games of the 2011 season for violating the National Football League's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The 31-year-old has also been fined an additional two game checks for testing positive for the banned diuretic StarCaps, the NFL Network reported on Friday.

Williams's suspension, which dates back to a positive doping test three years ago which he initially contested in court, will begin on September 3.

The six-times Pro Bowler will be eligible to return to the active roster on September 19 after Minnesota's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Williams was one of six players suspended in 2008 for four games each after using the weight loss product StarCaps, which contained a banned diuretic that can mask the presence of steroids.

Along with his namesake Pat Williams, the defensive tackle battled the suspension through federal and state courts while the league permitted both players to continue competing pending a final resolution of the case.

Their dispute centered on whether the league properly informed the players that StarCaps was a banned product.

Keith Williams finally gave up his protracted court battle earlier this year, allowing the NFL to enforce the suspension.

However, the ban imposed under the previous collective bargaining agreement has been amended to a two-tiered system of discipline -- a two-game suspension for testing positive for diuretics and six games for testing positive for steroids.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)