Bryant McKinnie (Jim Mone/AP)
Vikings tackle Bryant McKinnie lost more than $25,000 for his failure to show up to Pro Bowl practices late in the week and communicate the reason for his absence. McKinnie lost the NFC game check and must pay back the NFL expenses on his part.
Although it didn’t match his champagne bill, the first fallout from Bryant McKinnie’s Pro Bowl no-show came back to haunt him Friday.
The NFL announced Friday that McKinnie must pay back $4,285.13 for expenses the league incurred on his behalf during the week of the Pro Bowl. McKinnie, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl in eight NFL seasons, skipped most of the practices and team meetings before being dismissed from the NFC squad.
It had been announced almost immediately after his dismissal from the squad that McKinnie would forfeit his game check, which, for the losing NFC team, amounted to $22,500. The latest $4,285.13 tab comes out of his pocket. No announcement was made as to whether McKinnie would be fined for his conduct, but it would appear that no fine is being assessed other than the repayment of the expense money. However, the incident isn’t finished and sanctions may end up being put in place for the next player who pulls a stunt similar to that of McKinnie.
“The Competition Committee will review this matter to determine whether additional steps should be taken to deter this type of conduct at the Pro Bowl in the future,” league spokesman Randall Liu wrote in an e-mail Friday.
The NFL’s competition committee will review the matter next month at league meetings.
Many people associated with the league and the Vikings have expressed regret about the McKinnie situation, especially in light of his previously stated desire to get to the Pro Bowl level.
"To get an honor to go play in the Pro Bowl is something that's unique and something that should be cherished,” Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said during the Vikings’ Arctic Blast fundraiser last weekend. “It's a privilege and honor to go there and play in a game like that and I know from an organizational standpoint that we were disappointed, as well as a lot of our fans were, how things turned out."
It now appears as though McKinnie might be the example made for others who follow in his Pro Bowl footsteps that such actions won’t be tolerated by the league. Don’t think that we have heard the last of this matter, because it might dog McKinnie for the rest of his playing career.
The rumor mill out of San Diego says that the Chargers may be targeting Chester Taylor. It is clear that LaDainian Tomlinson isn’t going to accept a pay cut and will likely be released by the Chargers, and Darren Sproles isn’t viewed as a 20-carry-a-game back. With a weak free-agent class at running back, Taylor could be on the Chargers’ radar and, in a strange way, would open free agency for the Vikings. Because they were a final-four team in the playoffs, the Vikings can’t sign an unrestricted free agent from outside the organization until somebody signs one away from the Vikings – and even then there will be salary tie-ins to the player lost as opposed to any player signed. The only unrestricted free agents on the Vikings’ roster are Taylor, Artis Hicks, Jimmy Kennedy, Greg Lewis and Benny Sapp. Taylor and Sapp have been the only players that many free-agent analysts have viewed as players capable of earning a big contract offer from outside the Vikings organization.
In an interesting sidelight to the ruling on the Pat Williams and Kevin Williams lawsuit, two media members may find themselves being asked to testify and potentially do a little jail time if they fail to reveal their sources. In the court ruling by Judge Gary Larson, the attorneys for the Williamses said that, prior to their clients being informed of their positive tests and resulting suspensions, two reporters – Jay Glazer of FOX Sports and Josina Anderson of FOX 31 in Denver – were reporting the story. They may end up finding themselves on the witness list once the trial begins in May.
Adrian Peterson will be hosting his annual “Dinner With Adrian Peterson” next Saturday at the Riverwind Casino in Oklahoma. The dinner raises money for Peterson’s All Day Foundation. Tables of eight people for the dinner range in price from $2,500 to $5,000 a table.
Curse? What curse? That’s the mantra Jared Allen is taking toward potentially being the cover boy for this year’s EA Sports Madden video game. Allen is one of three finalists, along with Saints QB Drew Brees and Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne. There has been a growing urban legend about the Madden Curse, with good background rationale to support. Much like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx of years past, players who have appeared on the Madden game cover box have routinely had their seasons cut short due to injury. In an interview with ESPN.com, Allen said he doesn’t worry about curse and that his characterizations in the game have been “pretty awesome.” He is encouraging fans to vote for him in the on-line voting at Doritos.com.
Speaking of Allen, he was spotted in northern Minnesota Thursday on his way up to Canada to allegedly go wolf hunting.
From the “Good Luck With That” Department comes this: The Jacksonville Jaguars have several free agents that are potentially going to hit the open market in two weeks, but one of them won’t be former Vikings super-bust Troy Williamson. He signed a one-year contract to stay with the Jags. There has been talk that Williamson will enter the 2010 season as a starter opposite Mike Sims-Walker in the Jags lineup. A lot can change between now and then, but the Jaguars are serious about their feelings toward Williamson – having released veteran Torry Holt last week.
The Bears announced a ticket price increase for the 2010 season, with prices rising anywhere from $2 to $17 a ticket depending on seat location. Considering how dismal the Bears were in 2009, especially given the high expectations following the Jay Cutler trade, it will be interesting to see what happens to the season ticket base in 2010. Full payment on season tickets is due April 2.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.