Bryant McKinnie has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from an incident outside a Miami nightclub earlier this year. McKinnie allegedly got into it with a bouncer outside the club, and ended up smacking the guy over the head with a metal pole.
It’s likely that McKinnie will end up being suspended for some period of time once the season starts.
This makes two high-profile run-ins with the law for McKinnie since he joined the Vikings, including the Love Boat fiasco. Clearly, this is not a guy who’s interested in behaving himself off the field. So, given all Brad Childress’s talk about a culture of accountability and the like, is it time for the Vikes to consider cutting ties with their starting left tackle?
On the one hand, McKinnie would be tough to replace. He is one of the better tackles in the league, even if he gets burned a little too often by the faster pass rushers. On the other hand, for all his size and talent, he’s still never developed into the Pro Bowl-level player some people insist he can be. And that’s down to attitude. Obviously, he’s never been willing to work as hard as he should, and has never shown the ability to focus on every play.
At this point, it seems unlikely that the Vikings would just get rid of him. He has a gigantic contract, and though I’m no cap expert, I’m assuming the hit if they tried to trade and/or cut McKinnie would be large. Then again, we do have more cap space than any other team…so, if ever you were going to just dump a guy and take a cap hit, now would be the time.
Of course, this all assumes that Brad Childress really means it when he talks about holding guys accountable. And frankly Chilly has not always been consistent in that regard. He’s looked the other way at times on guys…like last year when Dwight Smith got popped for smoking grass, and it was during the playoff run so Childress deferred judgment. Obviously, Chilly did pass judgment in the end – by cutting Smith. Still, that cut may have had less to do with Smith’s transgressions off the field than some run-ins he had with Childress in the locker room.
When all is said and done, I think the Vikings will have to hold on to McKinnie. They’ll have to figure out some way to get through the games he will miss this season, probably by having Artis Hicks play tackle (and then praying no one else gets hurt on the line). Then they’ll have to hope Bryant has learned something from his experience and will now grow up a little bit. I ain’t holding my breath on that one. Dude’s 28 and he still carries on like he’s just out of college. Some guys just never get it. Let’s hope McKinnie’s immaturity doesn’t end up burning us even worse at some point in the future.