The post-lockout hullabaloo created several big cuts, but for one of the first times this offseason, we have a cut that’s motivated not by money but by personality. The Vikings cut starting OLT Bryant McKinnie and will replace him with ex-Colt Charlie Johnson.
McKinnie, a former top 10 pick, has been a fixture at left tackle for the team, starting basically full-time since his rookie season in 2002. He’s a massive guy who, at his best, was also surprisingly athletic. But he hasn’t kept his weight in check in recent years, and he’s had a list of off-field incidents that indicate that he’s not as committed to his career as he needs to be. When McKinnie reported to camp way out of shape, the Vikings signed Johnson, who started at left tackle for the Colts in 2008-09, and then subsequently released McKinnie. The move saves the Vikings more than $5 million against this year’s cap, but even more it saves them the consternation of dealing with a player whose performance has slipped in recent years while his entitlement grows. It would be easy to blame McKinnie’s release on the lockout, but the truth is that the bloom has been falling off the rose for McKinnie and the Vikings for a long time. Now McKinnie must prove that he cares so that another team will give him a chance to get more out of his still immense talent.