The most impressive thing you need to know about the Vikings' first-round draft pick, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, is that he has not given up a sack in his college career. Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper hopes that continues into his pro career.
McKinnie will immediately be slated as the Vikings' starting left tackle, even according to head coach Mike Tice, who continued to stress the improvement Lewis Kelly has made in NFL Europe and that Lewis will now compete for the starting left guard spot. McKinnie is considered more of a pass blocker than a run blocker, but at 6-foot-8, 343 pounds, he can obviously move defensive linemen.
"I wanted a guy bigger than me and we got one," Tice said.
Tice compared McKinnie to Orlando Pace, an enormous Pro Bowl tackle already in the league.
McKinnie is also extremely athletic. To wit: In high school he put the shot, threw the discus and RAN the 400 meter in high school. He went from a defensive end in high school to an offensive tackle at Lackawanna Junior College. He redshirted his first season at Miami and went on to a stellar two-year career, but he still is improving.
"If we can get him out of his stance a little quicker, we can make him better by tomorrow," said a visibly happy Tice.
The interesting thing about picking McKinnie is that Dallas, who was picking at No. 6, didn't appear to get their selection in on time, according to the ESPN television coverage. Tice admitted that the Vikings tried to quickly draft Ryan Sims at that point, but the NFL said Dallas had announced their trade to Kansas City and the Chiefs had picked Sims already.
It didn't seem to matter to Tice and Frank Gilliam, who said they are very happy to have McKinnie, and satisfied with the NFL's decision. McKinnie was one of four-and-half blue chippers the Vikings had on their board (rating CB Quentin Jammer as the half, along with Julius Peppers, Ryan Sims and Mike Williams).
"He's a very confident young man who has some character," Tice said of McKinnie.
McKinnie Profile: An instant starter at LT
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