Vikes Resigned to No McKinnie?

The Vikings and the agents for Bryant McKinnie spoke Thursday, but appear no closer to a deal. While it may be encouraging that neither side is commenting, there is word the talk is turning to trade rather than signing.

When sports fans think of the number 56, the record hitting streak of Joe DiMaggio comes to mind initially, not Bryant McKinnie's holdout streak.

But, as we hit the 56th day of McKinnie's contract standoff, word is that the Vikings and McKinnie's agents can be viewed as promising in talks. Promising as to what remains up in the air.

The Vikes and McKinnie's agents made little if any progress Thursday, but the fact that they're talking at all and declining public comment on the discussions is seen as a good sign.

Yet, some of the discussions may be centering on both sides moving on. If the Vikings don't have McKinnie signed by mid-November, both sides will be in limbo until March 1. While the Vikings could still conceiveably sign McKinnie between November and the end of February, if not inked by Nov. 12, he won't be able to play with Minnesota this season.

After March 1, however, his rights can be traded to another team. The Vikings are privately embarrassed by how the contract standoff has prolonged out -- McKinnie is the only first-round pick that remains unsigned. If nothing changes on that front, the Vikings may try to work with McKinnie's agents to trade his rights for a first-round draft pick in 2003. The problem facing the Vikings at that point is how much a team would be willing to give up to get a player who has sat out an entire season. If McKinnie is not signed or traded, the Vikings will simply lose his rights in April, 2003.

* Chuck Wiley is expected to replace Talance Sawyer in pass-rush situations Sunday.
* Las Vegas doesn't seem overly concerned about the Vikings' 0-2 start and Carolina's 2-0 start. Oddsmakers have made the Vikings a six-point favorite Sunday.
* Mike Tice said the status of Byron Chamberlain won't be determined until Sunday. He has until 10 a.m. Central time to either play Chamberlain or put him on the inactive list.
* Sawyer is scheduled to have surgery Monday to remove bone chips from his knee.
* Tice expects about 50-50 time split between Lewis Kelly and Everett Lindsay at left tackle Sunday.
* Randy Moss will be profiled on ESPN's Sports Century program Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT.
* Moss and Daunte Culpepper are just four touchdowns short of the record for a Vikings quarterback and receiver. To date, the pair have connected on 23 TD passes, just four shy of the team record held by Warren Moon and Cris Carter.
* The Vikings have the second-best rushing offense in the NFL so far this season, but the defense is ranked 30th overall and dead last vs. the pass.

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