Bryant McKinnie‘s career as a Viking came to an end because he is a fat slob who spent his off-season partying instead of keeping himself in good enough shape to earn his $4.9 million salary for 2011. He didn’t lose his job because the Vikings were over the cap or because they really liked the idea of plugging the nondescript Charlie Johnson into the left tackle position and seeing what he could do. McKinnie pissed his job away, period. End of story.
There isn’t a single sane, rational person who would attempt to characterize the Vikings’ decision to cut McKinnie as anything but a necessary move by a franchise looking to put itself into position for a playoff run in 2011. Had McKinnie been in shape, the Vikings would’ve kept him. I repeat: There is NO OTHER EXPLANATION for the Vikings’ decision to cut McKinnie. Leslie Frazier didn’t have it out for McKinnie. Neither did anyone else in the organization. Under ideal circumstances they would’ve been happy to keep McKinnie who despite his flaws was still arguably among the top 15 left tackles in the NFL last year.
Despite everything I just said, McKinnie himself is hilariously attempting to characterize his release by the Vikings as some kind of injustice. His campaign of inept counter-propaganda began on Tuesday when, moments after his departure from the Vikings, he told TMZ that, in spite of what everyone was reporting, he actually asked the Vikings to release him. McKinnie’s assertion was met with skepticism at best, belly laughter at worst.
Today on Twitter McKinnie kept up the pathetic charade. In an exchange with some of his followers, McKinnie pitifully attempted to deny that he showed up in camp overweight. Twitter user @DJBroman tweeted at him, “You’re out of shape,” to which McKinnie replied, “Prove it! Where’s the pics then? I sure haven’t seen any.”
Earth to McKinnie: We don’t need pics. The Vikings gave us all the proof we needed by cutting you. Like I said before, they wouldn’t have cut you if they didn’t feel they had no other choice. You don’t simply throw away starting left tackles – unless they can’t keep their bodies in good enough condition to perform.
The Vikings have made their reasoning clear: They knew McKinnie would never be able to get himself in shape in time for the season, and not wanting to deal with the mess, they simply washed their hands of it. No one can fault the Vikings for that move. No, Charlie Johnson is not as good a left tackle as Bryant McKinnie. The offensive line is not as good as it was a week ago when we thought we would have a healthy, fully-functioning McKinnie protecting Donovan McNabb. But none of that matters because McKinnie forced the Vikings’ hand.
Everything that happened is 100% McKinnie’s fault. He’s an adult, and a highly-paid professional “athlete,” and it’s his job to keep his body in playing shape. He failed to live up to his half of the deal and paid the penalty.
McKinnie’s denials and silly attempts at bending the truth are just more nonsense from a man who over the course of his career has proven himself utterly incapable of taking responsibility for his own actions. The “I asked them to cut me” routine reminds me of his comments after he was booted from the Pro Bowl team. After missing a series of practices and being told to go home, McKinnie insisted he actually bowed out of the game voluntarily but for some reason his agent never bothered notifying the NFC coaching staff.
Nothing, you notice, is ever Bryant’s fault. It’s always someone else. To hear Bryant tell it, he is always the victim.
What I would like to know is what McKinnie was actually thinking when he showed up for camp at around the 400 pound mark as has been reported. Did he think the Vikings would let it slide? Did he believe Leslie Frazier to be some kind of pushover? Did he operate under the assumption that because all the previous regimes let him get away with bullcrap, this regime would too?
Big surprise: Leslie Frazier isn’t Brad Childress. Frazier acts decisively and in the best interests of the team. Frazier earned big-time points with fans for handling McKinnie in no-nonsense fashion. The team comes first under Leslie Frazier, and if you’re not down with that, you can find another place to play.
It could not have been easy for Leslie Frazier to cut Bryant McKinnie, but in the end he made the right decision. A man who would let himself go as bad as McKinnie did is not the kind of player you want on your team. Tellingly, McKinnie’s former teammates were all on-board with Frazier’s decision. The players expressed regret over what happened to McKinnie but made it clear they understand the position the organization was put in. In other words, they like Bryant personally but realize that he behaved in an unprofessional way and deserved to get shown the door.
That’s all the proof we need to know McKinnie got what was coming to him. We don’t require pics or EKGs or any other evidence. This guy blew it, and the Vikings did what they had to do. By trying to insist otherwise, McKinnie has proven nothing except that he is still the same fool he always was.