McKinnie Again on the Clock

The more we see these photos of Bryant McKinnie in a Vikings uniform, the sadder it gets. But, as Day 43 of his holdout comes, it will finally start taking a financial toll.

The protracted holdout of Bryant McKinnie has become something akin to the threatened Major League Baseball strike. It got to the point where fans didn't really sympathize with either side -- both were wrong.

The same can now be said for the agents of McKinnie and the Vikings. When he was drafted and the typical "who's your agent?" question was asked, VU perked its ear up when we heard the names. The ugliest holdout of last year was Cincinnati DE Justin Smith -- known as "Godzilla" to Tiger fans in Missouri. He was represented by the same agents that McKinnie has, and they were stubborn in their demands.

However, the Vikings stance has been equally inept. Claiming the signing bonus given to last year's No. 7 pick Andre Carter of the 49ers and this year's eighth overall selection -- Roy Williams of the Cowboys -- are "aberrations" doesn't hold water.

The simple fact of the matter is that the market creates the salary structure. The Vikings dogged insistance that McKinnie should receive a smaller signing bonus than both of the players taken ahead and behind him is ridiculous. It would be similar to saying that Daunte Culpepper isn't deserving of a contract that pays him $8-9 million a year because the organization simply doesn't believe that other franchise QBs getting that kind of money are deserving of it.

While VU has taken the company stance that agents can't dictate team policy, with both Ryan Sims and Williams signed, it should be pretty obvious that the team has to move off of its offer of an $8.1 million signing bonus. Reality dictates that McKinnie should get a signing bonus of $9 million. Perhaps not having to sign a player this high in more than a decade is confusing to the team, but it's the reality that other teams fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to draft blue-chip players have to face.

The McKinnie contract negotiations will enter a new level today. If he isn't signed by 3 p.m. Central time today, any contract he does sign will be pro-rated. He will forfeit his Week 1 paycheck if he isn't signed today and that will continue. However, the clock is ticking for both sides. If McKinnie isn't signed by Week 10, he will re-enter the draft pool for next year -- a prospect that would be ugly for the Vikings.

Those of us at VU are looking for what is best for the team and their continued stance of claiming that the rest of the league -- or at least Dallas and San Francisco -- are out of whack for what they paid their players is becoming ludicrous. The window of salary has been set. The Vikings have to compete in that window. If they don't, McKinnie's holdout will go longer than 43 days and the Vikings will have wasted the best draft slot they've had in almost two decades.

Get it done, boys. You've both made your point -- and neither of you is 100 percent right.

* The Vikings won't decide until Sunday morning whether Nick Davis will suit up to return punts. His hamstring is better, according to Mike Tice, but the team will likely wait until Sunday morning to decide whether to play Davis or deactivate him. If he doesn't play, D'Wayne Bates will return punts and James Wofford will return kickoffs.
* Kelly Campbell has been officially deactivated for Sunday's game. While listed on the injury report as questionable, Tice said he won't suit up Sunday.
* Corbin Lacina (ankle) has been removed from the injury report entirely and will start Sunday.
* As reported earlier this week from a VU Bears source, although Chicago was listing guard Chris Villarrial as questionable, he was going to start Sunday. On Friday, the Bears upgraded him to probable and he will start vs. the Vikings.

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