McKinnie Contract Complicated

With the 100th day of his holdout looming tomorrow, the Vikings won't have Bryant McKinnie, but he is a Viking -- as a very complicated deal is finalized.

When the Vikings closed their deal with first-round pick Bryant McKinnie Friday, it looked like McKinnie got everything he wanted.

The Vikings had balked at a huge signing bonus. McKinnie got $9.35 million. They wanted a longer-term deal when his holdout affected his 2002 season. His deal is for $13.3 million over five years, with 2002 counting as one of those years and $5 million of his signing bonus paid now.

Yet, the Vikings got what may end up being viewed as an excellent deal. With what VU is being told is described as "a flexible payment schedule," the Vikings can slide his salary around over the next four years to make it more (or less) cap friendly in a year when the team is either tight against the salary cap or is well below and can hook a portion of his money into a cap-friendly year.

VU has been told by a league source that McKinnie's contract is so complicated that the contract language itself shelved talks for the last few days. However, the good news for Vikings fans is that McKinnie is signed and his holdout is finally over.

* McKinnie is a Viking, but won't be with the team in Tampa Sunday, although there is talk he may show up on the sideline to build some support from his teammates. He is scheduled to report for practice Monday at Winter Park, so speculation is he will head to Minnesota over the weekend.
* Contrary to what Mike Tice had said early in the holdout phase, VU is being told that McKinnie will likely see as many as 25 plays with the first-team offense next week when the Vikings host the Giants.
* One of the incentives in McKinnie's contract is a $250,000 bonus if he plays in at least half of the games in the final four seasons of his deal.
* In another potentially big win for Red McCombs, the NFL Players Association abruptly stopped its collusion investigation between the Vikings and Chiefs. Stating that the union was "looking to the future" as to what teams can't do when discussing contracts, union leaders sidestepped the question as to whether its investigation could have been a contract sticking point. Charges against both teams have been officially dropped.
* Wide receiver D'Wayne Bates is looking more and more likely to be deactivated Sunday.
* A VU Bucs source told us Friday that Tampa will likely be without both Keenan McCardell and Joe Jurevicius at the WR spot.

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