A big stink was raised Wednesday as the Vikings and the agents for Bryant McKinnie held another round of talks on getting a contract finalized. This time, it was about the NFL Players Association collusion investigation. Reports say that the investigation itself could be enough to break down the talks and kill the progress made on a new deal.
Don't buy it. Many of the reports say that the Vikings are seeking to stop the investigation. They can't stop it. What they can do, however, is what Kansas City did when it signed DT Ryan Sims -- the other key player in the collusion allegations -- did. When the Chiefs signed Sims, they stipulated that he would not seek damages if the NFLPA found the Chiefs had conspired with the Vikings. The Vikings could put the same language in a McKinnie contract.
If it turns out that the NFLPA investigation does find collusion, the Vikings and Chiefs could face punitive action, but it shouldn't from the players themselves. This shouldn't be a deal-breaker, but, as contentious as talks have been for almost four months now, anything could probably break this deal down.
* The Vikings and Bucs released their injury reports Wednesday. D'Wayne Bates (back) was listed as questionable with three others -- Corey Chavous (ankle), Hunter Goodwin (elbow) and Lewis Kelly (ankle) -- listed as probable.
* Bates took part in some of Wednesday's practice, but, if he can't go Derrick Alexander is ready to start. It looks like even if Bates isn't deactivated, he would likely be the No. 3 receiver anyway.
* Lewis Kelly didn't practice, still with his foot in an immobilizing boot. Everett Lindsay worked with the first unit and will start if Kelly isn't 100 percent.
* The Bucs have plenty of question (and questionables) on their injury report. DT Anthony McFarland (forearm) is out and guard Kerry Jenkins (eye) is doubtful. But more troubling is that five players -- C Ryan Benjamin (hamstring), QB Brad Johnson (rib), QB Rob Johnson (gluteal), WR Joe Jurevicius (ankle/knee) and WR Keenan McCardell (scapula) -- are all listed as questionable. Whether the listing of both Johnsons as questionable -- Rob is expected to start -- is a ploy on the part of Jon Gruden is not certain at this point.