Bryant McKinnie's agents were mad that their megabuck client fell from as high as No. 3 or 4 in the draft down to the Vikings at No. 7.
While a player who has championship aspirations would likely rather play for a team like the Vikings than the expansion Texans or rebuilding Lions and Chargers, the contract numbers between those picks is in the millions of dollars.
That has been part of the problem in the ongoing holdout, which is now in its 24th day. McKinnie's agents are strongly contending that McKinnie's money should merely be slotted cash using a formula based on other picks, but not necessarily the deal the 49ers gave Andre Carter last season.
Confusing? Yes, but it's getting stranger on the hodlout front. Still unsigned are CB Quentin Jammer and DT Ryan Sims. While the Vikings and Chiefs have been accused of conspiring to keep the contract numbers down for both players, it is Jammer that could hold the key to the signing of McKinnie.
Jammer, the No. 5 pick of the Chargers, has been embroiled in his own contract holdout. However, when Detroit took Joey Harrington at No. 4 overall, it was a tough choice between their perceived QB of the future and a shutdown corner everyone in need of secondary help wanted.
Enter Detroit and a trade offer. The Lions have made overtures to the Chargers looking to work out a deal to get the holdout corner away from the Chargers. While salary cap issues and draft bargaining rules prohibit a rookie from signing with another team after being drafted, there has been serious talks between the Lions and Chargers with Detroit looking for a way to get Jammer signed and then work a deal to send him to the NFC North.
While the Chargers aren't interested, from what a team source has told VU, the interest is sincere and, if Detroit was to work a deal with Jammer, it would obviously be for more than the Chargers are offering -- bumping up the price at Slot No. 5 in the draft.
There is no word whether anyone has approached the Vikings about looking for a sign and trade deal for McKinnie, but the Jammer situation may be a good sign for Sims and McKinnie as well. If nothing else, having talks going with a higher pick that have moved away from the simple "our offer, your demand" rhetoric, it could spark some talks to get all three unsigned top 10 picks off Square One and into camp.
That said, VU was told no talks with McKinnie took place over the weekend.
* Also on the McKinnie front, the Vikings are getting more personal with their wish to get McKinnie into the fold. Last week, not only Mike Tice but players Daunte Culpepper and Matt Birk called McKinnie. They weren't trying to talk him into signing his contract, but expressed their wish to make sure he stays in shape so he is ready to go when he does sign.
* The Vikings have continued to move forward with plans to go on without McKinnie. Lewis Kelly received high marks from coaches for his work Friday vs. Buffalo at left tackle, and, as discussed here when it was first mentioned by Tice, the discussion of moving Birk to left tackle was more of a bluff than a plan.
* Linebacker Raonall Smith had his shoulder examined after suffering a stinger Friday night. While no significant damage was discovered, he is likely to be held out of practice this week and is questionable for Friday's game vs. Tennessee.
McKinnie Impasse Continues
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