Memos Fly On McKinnie

Until Friday, being a writer was an admirable occupation, but one would rather be an NFL owner or a high-powered agent. That was until Friday, when Red McCombs and the agents for Bryant McKinnie both became wordsmiths.

Earlier this week, VU fielded a phone call from Cleveland asked to confirm, deny or discuss a rumor that Bryant McKinnie was going to be traded to the Browns for DE Courtney Brown. We dismissed the rumor as just that -- rookies can't be traded until the following NFL year, which begins in March.

While speculation has run rampant on several fronts, both Vikings owner Red McCombs and McKinnie's agents Jim Steiner and Ben Dogra opted to pimp the media to get their points across on the McKinnie impasse.

Both sides took their own shots at the other -- McCombs attempting to discredit Steiner and Dogra's representation of their client and the agents saying numerous requests to have McCombs meet privately with them have been denied.

But, why let us speculate on the meaning of their words? You can do that. Here are both statements received by VU concerning the matter. First up, since he's with the organization and released his first, are the statements of Red McCombs:

"Despite the recent speculation in the media, I want to make clear that the Vikings have absolutely no interest in trading Bryant McKinnie at any time. We drafted him with the seventh pick in the draft and we expect him to be the Vikings left tackle for the next decade. Even though Bryant's agents continue to irresponsibly represent him, we remain interested in reaching a contract agreement."

In response to McCombs' statement, Steiner and Dogra released the following statement:

"We are delighted to hear Red McCombs comments relative to the value placed on Bryant McKinnie by the organization. But also we're disappointed about Red McCombs baseless assertions on the quality of our representation. And, as a result, we again invite him to participate in the discussion during this unfortunate time.

"We think (McCombs) is a key player in order to finalize a fair market contract for Bryant McKinnie and at that point Bryant would enthusiastically become a Minnesota Viking."

There you have it. Both sides have used us as a tool to get to the fans who aren't happy with either side. Seeing as McKinnie has ruined his rookie season already, is a $8.1 million signing bonus out of line? No. Was the offer of $8.1 million when the player taken after McKinnie received $9 million fair market value? No.

This stinks of an impasse that may be resolved soon or not until after the season or not at all. Considering that Vikings may be as much as $30 million under next year's salary cap -- before inking Daunte Culpepper long-term -- it isn't unreasonable to think both sides can work out a deal.

It's going to be a policy statement at from here on through. No more posturing and pimping to get the points of management or agents out. Get it done or, like McKinnie's rookie season, it's a done deal. Over. Finito. We're through talking about it. There are too many players in the NFL to talk about to waste talking about one who won't play or can't play.

McCombs, Steiner and Dogra made their point Friday. Hopefully, they'll leave the writing to us and the negotiating to themselves and finally end this fiasco.

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