Photo by Christine Troyke
OAK GROVE, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Vikings running back Caleb King, a former high school football standout in Gwinnett County, was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault in the beating of another man outside a birthday party, the Anoka County sheriff's office said Saturday.
King, who played at Greater Atlanta Christian and Parkview, was jailed but hasn't been charged. He signed with the Vikings as a rookie free agent last year but didn't play in a game.
The victim was a 22-year-old from Coon Rapids. King is accused of punching him repeatedly and throwing him headfirst to the ground. The man was hospitalized in serious condition with skull and facial fractures, as well as with cuts that required more than 50 stitches to close, Sheriff's Cmdr. Paul Sommer said.
The man "may have a very serious brain injury," Sommer said.
"I just was made aware of it today and I don't have any further comment on it right now," Vikings GM Rick Spielman said. "We're still collecting and gathering information, but we are aware of the situation."
It's the latest off-the-field issue for King, a highly touted recruit at Georgia who ran into several problems during his college career. He was arrested for failing to appear for a court date on a speeding ticket and declared academically ineligible in his final year at Georgia and went undrafted in the supplemental draft before signing with the Vikings.
"We take each situation as it comes in and evaluate it and make decisions of where we feel that player is," Spielman said. "And if it's a risk or something that we don't want to deal with, then we'll deal with it.
"But we're not the only NFL team that has its situations. We try to prevent those because it's very important to what we're trying to build here, and you just have to deal with them when they come and make decisions based off that."
The alleged altercation began at a birthday party in Oak Grove to which King and the man were invited. About 3:15 a.m., the man allegedly teased the 24-year-old King about his resemblance to an unspecified celebrity, Sommer said.
When the man went outside to wait for a ride home, King followed him and punched him in the face, deputies said. The man got into the car, locked the passenger door and called 911, but King allegedly opened the driver's door and pulled the man out.
The man, whose name was not released, told investigators King punched him several times in the head and face and threw him down.
The man said he asked the homeowners to call 911 but they told him they'd drop him off at home.
In the meantime, emergency officials were responding to the 911 call. Although there was no one on the line, a dispatcher pinpointed the location of the call and sent a sheriff's deputy.
The homeowner told the deputy there was no problem at the residence and nobody needed assistance, even though the man was inside with very serious injuries, the sheriff's office said. The man was eventually taken to a hospital.
King was arrested without incident. He denied assaulting the man and told detectives the man fell to the ground when King was talking to him, Sommer said.
King is from Norcross.