Vikings running back Roc Thomas has been suspended for three games without pay by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Thomas, 23, was sentenced to three years probation in May after pleading guilty to a felony charge of marijuana possession. After complaints to his building’s management, a Jan. 16 search warrant was carried out at his Mendota Heights apartment. Officers found about 5 ounces of marijuana.

Thomas can practice with the Vikings during training camp and play in preseason games, but he will be ineligible for the first three regular-season games against the Falcons, Packers and Raiders. He can return to the team on Monday, Sept. 23.

According to a Dakota County criminal complaint, officers also found fewer than 7 grams of marijuana wax, nearly $16,000 in cash and a .45 caliber handgun in Thomas’ apartment. Thomas told officers during his arrest the marijuana was for his personal use and not for sale.

The Vikings “expressed our disappointment directly to Roc” and in a March statement said the organization would “respect the legal process and the NFL’s disciplinary process.”

Undrafted out of Jacksonville State, Thomas earned a Vikings roster spot in his first preseason last summer. The talented dual-threat running back was active for five games in the regular season, taking eight carries for 30 yards and two catches for 21 yards.

After losing Latavius Murray in free agency, the Vikings bolstered its backfield depth by re-signing Ameer Abdullah and drafting third-round pick Alexander Mattison out of Boise State.

So with starter Dalvin Cook and Mattison expected to lead the way, Thomas is positioned to compete for a reserve job with Abdullah and Mike Boone when training camp opens next week.

If Thomas makes the Vikings’ 53-man roster, the suspension will cost him about $100,000 of his $570,000 base salary.

Andrew Krammer