Early Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings did themselves a much belated favor, cutting ties with disinterested left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie. The move saves the team approximately $6 million and saves Vikings' fans from what has to have been one of the more horrific two-year runs of blind-side cover in recent NFL history.
The Vikings' cutting of McKinnie comes one day after the team signed former Indianapolis Colts' left offensive tackle Charlie Johnson to a free-agent contract and one day after the team placed McKinnie on the Non-Football-Injury reserve list. At the time of Johnson's signing, the Vikings stated that McKinnie's status was still in flux. McKinnie, himself, suggested that he intended to play for the Vikings in 2011. But whatever the Vikings' intentions yesterday, the team made its determination today that McKinnie will no longer be a part of the Vikings' future. For that, McKinnie has only himself to blame and fans, at long last, have McKinnie to thank.
Serving as a turnstile for much of his tenure in Minnesota, McKinnie was better known for poor footwork, laziness on and off the field, and a penchant for South Beach partying than for providing any semblance of a dedication to football. That McKinnie would allow himself to become so slovenly that the Vikings were forced to cut ties with him when they otherwise were perfectly willing to overpay him merely for his potential, pretty much tells McKinnie's story with the team and suggests an almost certain decline for McKinnie outside of the NFL.
When Brad Childress and Zygi Wilf first entered the picture in Minnesota, they pledged to clean house of all players of suspect character. That mantra rang true, but only to the extent that it applied to players that not only were suspect of character but also suspect in their play. Though McKinnie was not bashful about hitting someone upside the head with a metal bar, Childress found his play worthy of excusing such hijinks. Hence, McKinnie was labeled a "veteran leader," a label that suggested character.
Now that McKinnie's physical disrepair is too apparent to shield from the eyes no matter the mask, McKinnie's run in Minnesota is done. And with more money in the shed, the Vikings ought now be in a better position to reassess other areas of need.
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