NFL Fines Smoot, McKinnie

Almost a year after the fact, the NFL has finally drawn the curtain on the Vikings' scandal that got the nickname "The Love Boat."

Before last October, few people outside of the wine and cheese crowd around Lake Minnetonka had heard of Al and Alma's. Within days of the lurid details of the Vikings rookie party, it became a household name around Minnesota and the rest of the country.

Almost 11 months later, the case has finally seen its final chapter. After court cases for Moe Williams, having charges dropped against Daunte Culpepper and plea agreements for Fred Smoot and Bryant McKinnie, the ugly incident appears to finally be over.

On the same day the Vikings reached an agreement with McKinnie on a long-term contract extension, it was announced that the NFL has fined McKinnie and Smoot each one game check as punishment for their roles in sullying the good name of the NFL.

For McKinnie, the fine is $41,176 -- 1/17th of his annual salary. For Smoot, the fine was double -- a loss of $82,352.

Because the league has precedent for fining or suspending players, the Vikings are not allowed to take any further action against either player. So, after months of being the butt of jokes by late-night comedians and sports-related comedy wanna-be's, the Love Boat scandal finally can be put to rest.

* The release of Todd Pinkston may not be the last word on him with the Vikings. Although there is plenty of concern over his weak Achilles tendons, both of which bothered him in training camp and led to his release from the Eagles, he may not be completely out of the picture. There has been talk that the Vikings might re-sign Pinkston next week, much in the same way they released Koren Robinson in the first week of the regular season and then re-signed him. As a vested veteran, if Pinkston was on the opening day roster, his $585,000 salary would be guaranteed. By releasing him, if the team does re-sign him after the first game, his contract would be a on a week-to-week basis and not guaranteed.
* VU is being told that the Packers might sign Koren Robinson after the first week of games. Desperate for help at both wide receiver and in the return game, the Packers are willing to take the risk that Robinson could be suspended within a couple of weeks after being signed for his August arrest and fleeing police, but desperate times call for desperate actions in Green Bay.
* Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he expects RB Clinton Portis to be in uniform and playing Monday in a backup role to Ladell Betts. Portis had effectively ruled himself out Thursday, but apparently the coach isn't as sold on that prospect.
* Redskins DE Renaldo Wynn was downgraded from probable to doubtful Saturday.
* Brad Childress said both Mewelde Moore and Smoot -- the only Vikings on the injury report for Week 1 -- are expected to play Monday.

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