Vikings' Top Tackles Tackling Weight

For Vikings offensive left tackle Bryant McKinnie and defensive under tackle Kevin Williams, the early offseason workouts have a lot to do with keeping the weight down and contractual incentives up.

In the age of long contract negotiations, every clause counts, and the Vikings seem intent on getting weight clauses worked into many of their players' contracts.

During last week's workout that was open to the media, two of the team's larger players – Bryant McKinnie and Kevin Williams – talked openly about their weight being a factor in working out even though neither of them are obese by NFL linemen standards.

When McKinnie was pulled from the locker room following an 8 a.m. conditioning workout in the Vikings' fieldhouse, he was asked if he had been working out in Miami before the offseason conditioning program kicked off in Minnesota in March.

"I've got to keep my weight down in my clause, so a couple workouts down there (in Miami)," said McKinnie, who was listed at 6-foot-8 and 335 pounds last year. "Some guys (have that in the contract). Not everybody, but it's a good look if you can come around here and show your face and show that you're doing something, so a lot of people participate that way."

The workouts right now mainly focus on conditioning players in t-shirts and shorts, running cone drills and wind sprints one player after another and one drill after another in front of the conditioning staff.

For Kevin Williams, the workouts are the first step in regaining rapport with his teammates.

"We're getting the chemistry going, even in workouts. Just getting back and being around the fellas, it's nice," Williams said.

While the Vikings haven't been overly aggressive in free agency despite having $31.5 million under the salary cap before the signing period began in early March, they did get contract extensions completed with Williams and McKinnie before the 2006 season ended.

Williams signed a seven-year extension in December that could be worth as much as $50 million and has $16 million in guarantees. McKinnie signed a seven-year extension in September that could be worth as much as $53.5 million with $18 million in guarantees.

Williams said he didn't think he had much to prove last year before signing the extension, but his weight was one thing he did mention.

"I just think I needed to continue doing what I've been doing the past four years. Other than maybe a weight issue going into my third year, I think I've done well since I've been here. I've just been trying to build on that," said the two-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro who was listed at 6-foot-5, 311 pounds last year.

However, Williams also indicated that players have to have professional pride, even if they don't have weight clauses in their contracts.

"We're all grownups. They expect one thing out us: This is our job and we're paid to do it. You've got to point to yourself to do the job and get it done," he said.

Both McKinnie, who has yet to reach the Pro Bowl, and Williams are entering their second seasons in a new system, and getting an early gathering with teammates will help in that area as well.

"I'm feeling good, got a fresh start. It's my second year with this offense, so I'm ready to improve from here," McKinnie said.

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