McKinnie Absence No Sign to Worry

VU print readers know what "Greenspeak" meant -- Denny Green's way of telling what was happening without saying it. "Ticespeak" is taking on its own form, as the departure of Bryant McKinnie is being viewed by some in the Twin Cities media as a bad thing instead of a standard negotiating tool for McKinnie and his agent.

Let the political machinery begin to make its point.

It was noted to VU and other local media sources that only one rookie or free agent is missing from the daily workouts at Winter Park -- OT Bryant McKinnie.

With the help of one very vocal mouthpiece, this was interpreted as something wrong. Far from it. From what VU is being told, it's simply part of the process that goes into signing every top pick, not some version of "the sky is falling" as it's being played out in the local Twin Cities media.

McKinnie was obligated to take part in several team functions and minicamps while still unsigned -- part of the NFL ritual for all rookies and free agents. But, with those completed, it's time for McKinnie to get on to the next step of his professional life, which means letting his agent and the suits with the Vikings meet and discuss contract details.

Does McKinnie's absence from Winter Park mean that he will be harder to sign than he would have been if he was living in an apartment in Eden Prairie? No. Does it mean he'll be a holdout? No. Does it mean that he is being advised by the people he hired to do just that to step back from the team until it makes a commitment to him? Yes.

From everything VU has been told, the negotiations with McKinnie will be ongoing and, while he likely won't be officially signed until the days or even hours before training camp starts, the team and McKinnie -- despite comments from Mike Tice about his conditioning -- are on good terms and he will be signed and, as Tice said on draft day to VU's Tony Parker, he will be an "instant starter."

Let the shills talk up Lewis Kelly all they want to. Tice talked up Kelly before he got McKinnie. Can Kelly played left tackle in the NFL? Sure. Will he? Not as long as McKinnie is healthy and signed. Period.

FRIDAY NOTES
* The Bucs and WR Keenan McCardell are both denying reports commented on here a couple of weeks ago about Tampa Bay and McCardell having a deal in place before he was actually released by the Jaguars. While both sides say there is no truth to the reports, McCardell demanded a $5 million signing bonus from Kansas City and, three days later, signed with the Bucs for a $2 million signing bonus. If every G.M. could get a player to drop his asking price that much, there wouldn't be a need for free agency.
* Vikings kicker Doug Brien has found his way onto the world-wide web with the website www.kicking.com -- a site devoted to kickers everywhere. It's a nice site. Check it out.

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