I have been a critic of Bryant McKinnie’s long before I started writing here at Vikings Gab. In fact, I have such a lack of appreciation for the Vikings starting left tackle that I often times fail to give him credit when he deserves it. When my failure to give McKinnie his props gets noted by an astute reader, I usually feel bad about it.
I probably won’t feel bad about it anymore.
Bryant McKinnie has officially been dismissed from the Pro Bowl because he failed to show up for 4 of his 5 practices.
McKinnie used the media as a tool for publicly campaigning for his first Pro Bowl nomination.
McKinnie has not been a real positive light for the Vikings thus far in his career.
In 2005, McKinnie was one of the primary organizers of the party to be held on a boat on Lake Minnetonka. McKinnie reportedly lifted up one of the strippers that had been flown in from Atlanta, set her on the bar, and performed “lewd acts” to her in front of his teammates and the boat crew. Later, McKinnie was one of four Vikings reportedly receiving “lewd acts” from one of the strippers for all to see. McKinnie was charged with a misdemeanor for the events that occurred, and he received a $1,000 fine and 48 hours of community service. Zygi Wilf also promised the public that McKinnie would be required to more community service on behalf of the Vikings.
While he was not suspended for the event, McKinnie was fined one game check by the NFL, which totaled about $41,000. Only a day later, the Vikings gave McKinnie a contract extension to the tune of $48 million over seven years.
In February of 2008, McKinnie reportedly bashed the head of a Miami nightclub bouncer with a pole. A YouTube video was available shortly there after showing the owner of the club asking McKinnie to leave the establishment because him and the women around him were getting out of hand. McKinnie did not seem to take the request very seriously in the video. He did eventually leave, went to a nearby strip club, and then went back to the original club… which is when the assault occurred. McKinnie was suspended for the first four games in 2008 for the incident.
McKinnie recently switched agents, hiring the (in)famous Drew Rosenhaus to represent him. Many speculated that the move meant McKinnie is soon going to try and make a play for a new contract. After all, Rosenhaus will not be paid a dime for representing McKinnie if or until a new contract is signed under Rosenhaus’s watch.
Which brings us to the most recent event. After reaching the Pro Bowl, some hack bloggers and others wondered if the election was deserved. After all, he has not exactly been the most consistent player and was even benched at one point in the 2009 season after Julius Peppers dominated him.
Regardless, McKinnie was Pro Bowl bound for the first time in his career until being kicked off the team for not showing up to practices. McKinnie tried to claim that he wasn’t showing up due to nagging injuries, but other players have insinuated that this was “B.S.” and reports are that McKinnie was feeling well enough to go clubbing in Miami the night before one of his no-shows… no bouncers are reported injured yet.
McKinnie will not receive the usual stipend for appearing in the Pro Bowl, but it sounds like the league will take no further action against him.
Having not exactly been a positive force with the Vikings, the most recent incident may ensure that he has played his last game with the Vikings. Rookie Phil Loadholt seems like he would not be too much of a downgrade if he were to move to the left side of the line, while veteran Artis Hicks could be re-signed to play on the right side.
Other options are also available via trade or the NFL Draft.
I tend to think that the looming uncapped year will keep McKinnie in Minnesota. However, if a trade is offered to the Vikings that they are willing to accept then I don’t think they’ll think twice but to rid their team of a player that has given their Public Relations department headaches off the field and allowed far too many sacks on the field.
While many expect the Vikings to have a relatively uneventful offseason (other than Favre Watch), I think McKinnie’s actions may have just made things a little more interesting.