Childress on McKinnie: ‘Difficult Decisions'

Vikings coach Brad Childress said the team would likely wait until the NFL and legal process has ruled on the fate of Bryant McKinnie, charged with a felony and three misdemeanors, but Childress said the franchise could have some difficult decisions to make in the future.

Bryant McKinnie's legal troubles could be just the start of his career troubles, but Vikings head coach Brad Childress said the team needs to wait out the process before making any decisions regarding his status with the Vikings.

"I know you don't want to hear ‘Until we get all the facts,' but we could face some difficult decisions down the road. All decisions – some are tougher than others," Childress said Tuesday when asked if he was confident that McKinnie was a core player for the future of the franchise.

McKinnie's latest legal issues stem from an incident outside the Club Space nightclub in Miami last month. He was charged with aggravated battery, a felony, and three misdemeanors after returning to the nightclub and throwing punches, according to a police report.

On Monday, McKinnie's representatives entered a plea of not guilty on the charges and will have a hearing on April 11.

"The legal system is obviously what's in play here, for starters. It's difficult to talk about, but the legal system is what it is and time kind of seems like it goes through an hourglass. It grinds; it doesn't usually fast-track. From that standpoint, Bryant is entitled to his due process, just as are all of us," Childress said.

McKinnie, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct on charges stemming from the Vikings' so-called "Love Boat" incident of 2005, could face potential disciplinary action from the NFL. On Tuesday, Chidress said the team would likely wait to see how the NFL reacts to the outcome of McKininie's current plight before taking any potential action from the Vikings.

"We have a certain set protocol. The commissioner has stated his policy on conduct and it's a policy that quite frankly I feel like we put in place the first day I came in here – maybe not with all the cross the Ts and dot the Is – but with the part of people being responsible for what they do," Childress said, referring to the team's code of conduct that he and owners Zygi and Mark Wilf helped institute at the beginning of 2006.

"It's the way that it's probably preferred, but I'd just say that we've been consistent – the Wilfs have been consistent – with the way we want the Vikings to be represented. I know what Zygi's values are and I know what my values are and I know what our collective Vikings values are. … It's difficult."

McKinnie, a 2002 first-round draft pick, received a seven-year contract extension in 2006 that could pay him $48.5 million over the life of the contract. His cap number for 2008 is just more than $7.4 million.

Childress acknowledge that the Vikings were "comfortable" that McKinnie's legal troubles were behind him when they signed him to a contract extension.

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