Minnesota Vikings running back Caleb King was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of committing a serious assault at a birthday party in the Anoka County city of Oak Grove.
King, 24, a rookie player who spent most of the season on the Vikings' practice squad, was jailed in Anoka County but had not been charged by Saturday evening.
The alleged victim of the assault, a 22-year-old man from Coon Rapids, is hospitalized with a skull fracture, facial fractures and injuries that required more than 50 stitches to close and may also have a serious brain injury, according to the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.
He was in serious condition Saturday night at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids.
In a news release, the Sheriff's Office gave this account:
King and the injured man were invited guests at a birthday party for a 21-year-old female friend of King's, hosted by her parents. About 3:15 a.m., the man allegedly teased King about his resemblance to a celebrity, then went outside to wait in a vehicle for a ride home.
King allegedly followed him, confronted him outside the car and struck him in the face. The victim reported getting into the car, locking the passenger door and calling 911 on his cellphone. King allegedly opened the driver's side door and pulled the man outside, struck him multiple times in the head and face with his fists, then threw him head first to the ground, according to the Sheriff's Office.
King, who was arrested at the site of the party, denied assaulting the man and said he fell to the ground when King was talking to him.
King was booked on suspicion of assault in the third degree but has not been formally charged. That decision will be made by the Anoka County attorney's office next week, according to the Sheriff's Office. King remains in custody at the Anoka County jail.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said he was aware of King's arrest but had no comment. "We're still collecting and gathering information," he said.
The latest arrest follows cornerback Chris Cook being charged with felony domestic assault last fall, then his acquittal last month. Asked how the team was dealing with these personnel incidents, Spielman said: "We take each situation as it comes in. And evaluate it and make decisions off of where we feel that player is. And if it's a risk or something that we don't want to deal with, then we'll deal with it."
He added: "But we're not the only NFL team that has these situations. We try to prevent those, because it's very important to what we're trying to build here."
King, a Georgia native, formerly played for the University of Georgia. He was a rookie last season with the Vikings and used on the practice squad. He was on the 53-man roster for the final game of the season but did not play. King joined the Vikings as a free agent after he went undrafted.
Staff writer Dan Wiederer contributed to this report. Kim Palmer 612-673-4784