The thought of having Bryant McKinnie in uniform anytime in the 2002 season has become a moot point. While some discussion has continued between the Vikings and representatives for the first-round selection, nothing promising appears to be in the offing.
With day number 86 almost in the books, the thoughts among league sources is that McKinnie has no intention of agreeing to any of the lowball offers made by the Vikings and will sit out the season, unless the Vikings raise their offer.
"Minnesota continues to play lowball games with McKinnie and their is no indication that it will end anytime soon. Vikings owner Red McCombs refuses to pay the player what the going rate is and believes that McKinnie will eventually sign a contract for close to the offer on the table," the source said. "The contract offer is loaded with many incentive triggers as well as a tiered system. The contract is very favorable to the team, it certainly isn't player friendly."
"The McKinnie camp is well aware that if he doesn't sign by Nov. 12, he can't play this season and they want him to play, but not at any cost. Numerous scenarios have been discussed with and without the Vikings. The only aspect in this situation is that McKinnie is going to play football somewhere, maybe not in 2002, but definitely in 2003."
If McKinnie continues to refuse to sign a contract with the Vikings and sits out the 2002 season, he will eligible to re-enter the draft in 2003. While it is unlikely that the Vikings would let matters get that far, that is a possibility. For Minnesota to trade McKinnie, they would have to wait until March of 2003.
"Whether McKinnie sits out, signs, whatever the case, he will be looked at as a dominent left tackle. McKinnie's reps know that if he re-enters the draft, he should be drafted close to where he was by the Vikings, if not higher," the source continued. "The belief around the league is that Minnesota will raise their offer prior to the Nov. 12 date to save some embarrassment in this financial mockery of the system."
"There had been some serious interest coming from some other teams for McKinnie prior to the unsigned rookie trading deadline and there would be again after the season. The problem is that Minnesota will not get fair value in return. Of all the teams that had some discussions about McKinnie, none were close to owning the seventh pick in the 2003 draft."
The Sale: We all have heard the rumors about Red McCombs wanting to sell the Minnesota Vikings. As of this past Friday, nothing had changed in that regard. Glen Taylor is the lone buyer in the market presently for the Vikings and McCombs is making this negotiation as troublesome as the ongoing one with McKinnie.
"Taylor would buy this team in a minute, if the price was right, without all the BS. McCombs wants over 600 million for the team, but was said to be flexible in the deal. Over the past couple months that 600 million price-tag has maintained and a deal will not be completed for that type of figure," the source said. "People close to Taylor say that with the uncertainty regarding stadium issues, other contract issues, and within the team's structure itself, the monies that McCombs is looking for will not come from his group."
"An offer under 500 million has been laid out indirectly. Let's just say at this time it doesn't look overly promising, but money talks. We'll see what transpires."