Roc Thomas, a running back who played five games for the Vikings last season, faces felony possession of marijuana charges in Dakota County, according to a criminal complaint. He’s due in court March 18.
A search warrant was carried out Jan. 16 around 2:30 p.m. at Thomas’ Mendota Heights apartment, where officers said they found more than 143 grams of marijuana. They also found more than six grams of marijuana wax, drug paraphernalia and nearly $16,000 in cash, according to the complaint. News of the incident was first reported by KSTP.
According to the complaint, Thomas told officers he was aware the building’s management had received grievances “about the smell of marijuana coming from his apartment.” He told officers he smokes marijuana and the marijuana in the apartment was for personal use and not for sale. Marijuana possession without medical permission is illegal in Minnesota.
“We are aware of the charges filed against Roc Thomas and have expressed our disappointment directly to Roc for his actions,” the Vikings said in a statement. “We will respect both the legal process and the NFL’s disciplinary process.”
Thomas could face discipline through the NFL’s drug policy. While players are not suspended for a first-time positive test for marijuana, they can face suspension for illegal acts that include possession of marijuana.
In Minnesota, possession in excess of 42.5 grams of marijuana is considered a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000.
Thomas, 23, was a priority undrafted free agent signing last year. Despite an injury-limited preseason, he earned a spot on the depth chart after the Vikings guaranteed him $23,000 out of Jacksonville State. The 5-10, 198-pound running back flashed potential as a running and receiving threat, catching two touchdowns in his first preseason game against the Broncos.
His development was a big reason why the Vikings decided to keep five running backs. He appeared in five regular-season games, rushing eight times for 30 yards. He caught two passes for 21 yards and dropped a pass that led to a fumble in Philadelphia.
Thomas was re-signed by the Vikings on Jan. 2. A former five-star recruit from Oxford, Ala., Thomas originally played for Auburn. He transferred as a junior to Jacksonville State, which is located just 15 miles north of his hometown.
He’s just the latest NFL player to be charged with marijuana possession in states where the drug is still illegal. Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata was charged with misdemeanor possession last month after his River Ridge, La. apartment was searched. The Patriots’ Duron Harmon, the Cowboys’ Rico Gathers and the Browns’ Antonio Callaway have also been cited domestically for possession or had marijuana confiscated internationally in the past year. None of them has yet been suspended by the NFL.