A Line In The Sand..........Or Is It?

Views, news, and notes regarding the Minnesota Vikings and, of course, Bryant McKinnie. Plus, NFL executives' reactions to dealing with some agents.

If you have been following the daily updates regarding offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie, you may have drawn a conclusion as to the nature of the negotiations.

Hopes of McKinnie agreeing to terms with the Vikings this past week quickly were thrown out the window when the Vikings made what they deemed, their final offer.

According to a league source, that "final offer" as it is called really isn't a final offer or an end to negotiations, but rather a line in the sand that the Vikings have drawn.

"Nothing has changed over the past week. There was some room for optimism late last week, but circumstances quickly changed," the source said. "Minnesota has a number they have set on and they do not appear ready to budge from that position. Let me point out that the Vikings have made what can be deemed a fair offer in comparison to signings in the past."

"There is nothing standard about these negotiations though. McKinnie's people (Jim Steiner and Ben Dogra) are attempting to gain more than what is perceived as market value for their client. Market value is that of a top-five pick, in their scope."

While Steiner and Dogra have released a statement regarding the contract talks, the representatives have no intention of furthering discussions in the media.

"There is really nothing to gain by discussing any negotiation process in the public light," a representative for McKinnie stated. "They (the Vikings) know where we stand and we know what they have offered. We will continue forward with our dialogue and eventually we will get this done."

"We want Bryant happy and in Minnesota as much as the Vikings want this tremendous athlete in their camp. Sometimes these matters just take time to work out, and this is one of those cases."

Bryant McKinnie would offer "no comment" when contacted last week by The Insiders.

A call to the Minnesota Vikings was not returned, but a source close to organization shared a thought with The Insiders.

"This entire organization is taking a different approach to how we handle situations and how we are viewed. We have been extremely fair with each draft choice, with each free agent player we have signed," the source said. "Our commitment is about winning, but not at the expense of having to tear this team apart soon after the process of re-tooling has begun."

"With or without McKinnie, this team will go forward and compete. Tice will not wait too long to fill McKinnie's roster position; we're dinged up on the offensive line and we will solidify the unit."

From The Top: Two prominent team executives from the NFC share their views and opinions on the ever-changing game of the NFL. For obvious reasons, the two gentlemen have requested to be left anonymous.

"Players entering the league are now coming in with the thoughts that they are owed something, mainly due to the stances and ideas of agents. True, these are kids that have had excellent collegiate careers and want an opportunity, but we have a process that we work within," the executive said. "There is a rookie cap that each team must work within. There is a salary cap that each team must work within. This isn't Major League Baseball, there are guidelines to ensure that the playing field remains as level as possible and places the responsibility on the team representatives to spend and spend wisely."

"Look what the Washington Redskins went through a year ago. A new owner went on a spending spree and the team didn't produce. The only alternative was to release the players and absorb the cap hit. Much like the San Francisco 49ers of a couple years back, sometimes you have to bite the bullet to save the program. No rookie or player is worth mortgaging the future on."

A second executive is more specific to the notion that agents and representatives can hold a team hostage in the negotiation process.

"An agent can be a terrible thing. They get their hands on these young kids and warp them with promises and ideas. Not all agents are like this; there is a select few that give this game a bad name," the executive said. "It isn't only the agents, there are teams in the league that are as irresponsible as their counterparts."

"The example being the Cleveland Browns. Last year they threw the signings of players out of whack when they signed Gerard Warren (third selection in the draft) to a contract that was worth one-million dollars more than the third selection in the draft from the 2000 draft. Now, this year they sign running back William Green for almost one-million dollars more than the 16th selection in the 2001 draft."

"This league and its partners must be financially responsible," the executive noted.


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