Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Sep 2006

Vikings Sign McKinnie to Monster Deal

The Vikings have signed LT Bryant McKinnie to a mega-deal: 7 years, $48.5 million, and over $18 million guaranteed. Performance bonuses could push the total over $50 million. This puts him in the financial elite for his position, and there's an interesting wrinkle based on the "poison pill" Minnesota used on guard Steve Hutchinson -- the Vikings' capmasters had to structure the deal so that McKinnie (or any Viking offensive lineman) could never earn more than Hutchinson on a per-year average basis, or Hutch's entire $49 million salary would become guaranteed. McKinnie was the only Minnesota lineman to start all 16 games last season, as the injury-depleted Vikings line finished 31st in Adjusted Line Yards and 26th (t) in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 09 Sep 2006

24 comments, Last at 12 Sep 2006, 11:14am by Insancipitory


by bigworm (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 12:20pm

Wow, so that's nearly $100 million for the left side of the line alone? Dayum.

by Doug Farrar :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 12:27pm

If I remember correctly, Hutchinson's guaranteed money is somewhere in the vicinity of $16 million...so they're plunking down $34m minimum.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 12:37pm

Interesting. I thought the Vikings were likely going to observe McKinnie's behavior on and off the field this year, before offering him a huge contract, or perhaps franchising him next year. Obviously, it's next to impossible to evaluate a guy's work habits from afar, but I would have concern about his drive to excel after getting a huge deal. He's a talented guy, especially in pass protection, but he's never struck me as a player with a mile-wide mean streak, which is a desirable, although not essential, attribute in an offensive lineman. Guess we'll learn more about McKinnie's inner drive this year.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 12:46pm

I also think the Vikings likely had enough cap space remaining to give a good portion of McKinnie's guaranteed cash in the form of a roster bonus, which means that his contract won't really impinge on future cap flexibility. Their capologist, whose name I cannot spell, really does a good job.

by krugerindustrialsmoothing (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 1:01pm

I wonder if McKinnie's fine will be based on his new or old salary? I guess the vikes intention to clean up their act only goes so far. click my name for link.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 1:07pm

Mr. Smoothing, short of felony convictions (and even then it can be tenuous), nobody's intention to clean up their act exceeds their intention to put as much talent on their roster as possible, despite all rhetoric to the contrary.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 1:12pm

Nah, not 100 Million. It's an NFL contract. 7 year, 49 million dollar contracts are usually in reality 4 year, 20-25 million affairs.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 1:41pm

Mckinnie's and Smoot's one game check fine does trigger a question; does anybody know if the the league has a standard fine for a drunk driving offense? It's always struck me as a little strange how much attention was given to the Sex Cruise escapades, while drunk driving arrests are kind of treated in a "ho-hum, whatever" manner by the public.

Yeah, what Mckinnie and Smoot did was crude, but in terms of harming anybody, well, if you're in the business of serving liqour, and the sight of people doing disgusting things in public causes you lasting damage, well, you've simply made the wrong career choice. In contrast, driving while hammered really threatens a community, yet it doesn't seem to spark nearly as much comment. Novelty plays a role, I suspect, given how the Detroit coach's method of dressing for dinner seems to have gotten more attention than his decision to drive while impaired.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 1:55pm

Will, people love telling other people what to do with their sex lives. What to do with other acts which are much more dangerous...well who cares about that. Maybe if there is a cute white child harmed, or a cuddly kitten ran over we might care, but only if there are pictures.

The whole boat scandal was the sports version of Monica Lewinsky. Perfectly normal behavior (given the context) blown way way out of proportion.

And yes it is perfectly normal behavior for heads of state to fool arround with willing interns and professional althetes who bring women "of ill repute" on expensive boat parties to do naughty things on those boat parties. Niether of these things should be surprising or a crime.

by Omar (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 2:56pm

Re #9
Amen. Well said.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 3:16pm

This ain't a political forum, Becephalus, but I'll just say there's some irony in being a strong supporter of relaxed discovery rules in sexual harrassment lawsuits, being stupid enough to shtup the intern while being a defendent in such a lawsuit, and then claiming that making false statements made during depositions in said lawsuit is no big deal. It ain't exactly credible to try to have it not just both ways, but in all imaginable ways. I'd rather just say it would be preferable if our elected officials opposed abuse by deposition of anyone, and not cry foul only when they get their nuts squeezed in a vise.

As to Mckinnie and Smoot, I really have no problem with the fines; the NFL is in the business of selling loyalty to laundry, and if a measurable number of people, even if it amounts to a small number, who might turn on a television set to watch said laundry, has their enthusiasm for doing so in any way tempered, by accounts of players diddling strippers on a charter boat, then the NFL has a legitimate business interest in minimizing that kind of behavior.

I did have a problem with Hennepin County devoting scarce presecutorial resources to policing behavior which isn't all that uncommon at very rowdy bachelor parties, and I think it is silly that people get exercised about this stuff, yet remain much less exercised about things like drunk driving.

by sippican (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 3:25pm

Yes, I agree, it's perfectly normal for lowlifes to pay for sex with skanks. And of course it's run of the mill for persons of low moral standards to try to take advantage of their underlings for sexual gratification.

It's also perfectly normal for policeman to arrest people for buying sex acts in public; and occasionally the girls sue their bosses about gettin' groped for the mistake of being subordinate and having a rack. So it's all good.

So we're all normal all around here. Why don't we talk about how bad teams have salary cap money burning holes in their pockest and go on spending sprees whether or not they have the personnel to merit it? And how the big jump this year is unlikely to be replicated anytime soon and might lead to salary cap dumps in a few years.

Or maybe we can talk about how some teams might be wising up and realizing that lineman don't end up dancing in the enzone much, but they put the guys who do there.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 3:35pm

sippican, if Mckinnie ends up underperforming his new contract (and I'm not sure that he will; he does have well above-average talent), Zygi Wilf will out a few million, but it is doubtful it will have much salary cap impact in future years. I could be wrong, but I'd wager that a good chunk of the guaranteed cash is a roster bonus which will be budgeted for this year, and won't impact the salary cap in future years. I agree that paying a lot for few good offensive linemen may turn out to be a wise thing to do, given their longer careers.

by sippican (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 4:08pm

will allen- I think the Chiefs were good because of their line. Seahawks too. Ditto Pats, but for a different reason- Scarnecchia. Same for Denver.

It can be totally overlooked in the rotisserie league mindset. Wide receivers and Qbs and half-backs and... I don't know, some other guys. Same on defense. Give me Seymour over Ty Law any day.

Marshall Faulk was tremendous in two towns. I don't wish to diminish his accomplishments one iota; but give me Orlando Pace first.

by Catholic Samurai (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 4:19pm

This guy went "Downtown Julie Brown" with an "exotic dancer" so you know he has to be one of the toughest and bravest people on the planet.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 4:33pm

Ya' gotta' point there, Samurai.....ugh.....

Sippican, the reason I don't do fantasy is that it is too divorced from what really determines the winners and the losers, although I am sure there are leagues which are better than others in this regard. I've said a few times in this forum that, in my opinion, Seymour, when healthy, is the most valuable player in the league who doesn't take snaps from center, so I think we are largely in agreement.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 5:01pm

Just remember that is was the employees on the boat who turned the situation into a legal one. You can't go into a restaurant or a bus and perform sex acts and I don't think it's unreasonable that a chartered boat would have the same expectations of decorum. The employees certainly have the right not to be propositioned.

by Jason (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 5:31pm

"Seymour, when healthy, is the most valuable player in the league who doesn’t take snaps from center,"

I drastically disagree. On their Super Bowl teams Seymour was likely only their 4th Best Defensive Player. Law, Harrison, and Bruschi were all superior to Seymour

by Kuato (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 9:18pm

the Vikings capmasters had to structure the deal so that McKinnie (or any Viking offensive lineman) could never earn more than Hutchinson on a per-year average basis, or Hutchs entire $49 million salary would become guaranteed.

Question: Does this mean that the Vikes effectivly can't Franchise Tag any of the high priced offensive positions during the entire length of Hutche's contract? It seems that the Franchise tag would make push the per year salary of a player over Hutche's average salary?

by Catfish (not verified) :: Sat, 09/09/2006 - 11:57pm

re: 19

I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that Hutchinson's contract is only guaranteed if he's not the highest paid offensive lineman on the team, not the highest paid of all players.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 09/10/2006 - 11:58am

Jason, you can disagree all you want, but if you think that Belichik, with his last two championship teams, would have given up Seymour first, if forced to pick among those four players to do without, well, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

by The Ninjalectual (not verified) :: Mon, 09/11/2006 - 2:44am

I remember reading a study concluding that when an employee is given a pay raise, his/her job performance jumps up accordingly for a short time, and then levels off to where it was before. With this in mind, I wish teams wouldn't give players raises right before they play Washington. /homer

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Mon, 09/11/2006 - 7:32am

18 - Bruschi??? That had potential to be a convincing argument - you gave some R-word to Harrison, which is good for the health, and Law was certainly at the top of his game, but Bruschi has never been much more than a good, smart, system player. Oh, fine, he has some swagger. And we all know how important that is. Anyway - he has never been one of the top ten linebackers in the NFL. He has probably never been the best linebacker on his own team, or if so, it is this year. Law was probably a top 5 CB (though that was a couple of years ago), Harrison was and is probably a top-5 or 10 safety.

Seymour is arguably the most talented DL in the NFL. Strong enough to play tackle, quick enough to play end.

Seymour lacks just one skill - health. However, the rest of those guys have all suffered long-term owies as well, so they don't edge him there. On top of that, he is younger than the rest of them. Yep, that spells "most valuable player on the defense" to me...


by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Tue, 09/12/2006 - 11:14am

As I recall the substance of Hutch's pill was that his deal was guaranteed if he wasn't the highest paid offensive lineman on his team at the time of the offer. Hence the addition of a voidable year to Walter Jones being insufficent to escape the terms of the Vikings offer.

Since this is after that day, the Vikings should be able to do whatever they want without guaranteening Hutch anything further. Assuming I understand things correctly.