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sleepagent
09-08-2006, 07:52 PM
http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/5948942

Vikings, McKinnie close to new deal
Jay Glazer / FOXSports.com
Posted: 15 minutes ago




The Minnesota Vikings are about to have the NFL's first $100-million offensive line.

FOXSports.com has learned that the Vikings are close to agreeing to terms on a new seven-year extension with starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie worth a possible $53.5 million. The kicker of the deal is that McKinnie, despite never making a Pro Bowl, will get over $18 million in guaranteed money when you factor in his 2006 salary, which becomes guaranteed on Monday.
The new deal is worth between $48.5 and $53.3 million, depending on whether certain incentives are reached.

And he won't even be the highest-paid lineman on the team.

The contract had to average less than what guard Steve Hutchinson earns per season. According to terms of the free-agent contract Hutchinson signed in March, if any lineman has a higher average salary than his number for this season, then Hutchinson's entire $49 million gets guaranteed.

So when you add Hutch's $49 million to McKinnie's $53.5 million, that gives the Vikes the first $100-million o-line tandem in league history.

McKinnie is in the final year of his rookie deal and, assuming the deal gets done, will be taken off the free-agent market for the 2007 shopping season.

The deal is even better for McKinnie because the team was likely to slap him with the dreaded franchise tag next year. The former first-round pick's base salary jumps from a little under $900,000 to almost $4 million in 2006.

Mr. Purple
09-08-2006, 08:01 PM
AWESOME! Bye far the best news I've heard all day! Its so ironic becuz I was thinking about that today.I was thinking that the second he became a FA next year, he'd be gone.I could see the SeaChickens signing him next year in retaliation to Hutch.GREAT news tho!!!

cogitans
09-08-2006, 08:03 PM
If it's true that would be great news.

That takes away our biggest concern for next years Free Agency. Fantastic
work by the front office.

Freakout
09-08-2006, 08:28 PM
I love it.
Get the contract stuff out of the way so him and Hutch can develop some longterm chemistry.

ItalianStallion
09-08-2006, 08:33 PM
I'm glad he's sticking around, but that is way too much money for a player like him, who isn't even in the Top 5 at his position.

aceclown
09-08-2006, 08:37 PM
"ItalianStallion" wrote:


I'm glad he's sticking around, but that is way too much money for a player like him, who isn't even in the Top 5 at his position.


Well, they have two options- pay him this much or let him go.
If they let him go, it will be almost impossible to replace him with someone of his caliber (he's not in the top 5, but he's def. a top 10 tackle) unless you hold a top 10 draft pick.

Formo
09-08-2006, 09:03 PM
I like that McKinney staying in town(even though he still has to prove himself), but I don't like how much the Vikes need to spend to keep him.

With the money the Vikings are dishing out right now, just on the O-Line, they better be the best O-Line in history (even better than the '98 Vikings O-Line) next year.
Heh.

PurplePride80
09-08-2006, 09:22 PM
"ItalianStallion" wrote:


I'm glad he's sticking around, but that is way too much money for a player like him, who isn't even in the Top 5 at his position.


That's true.

But like aceclown said, we had to overpay him a little bit, to make sure we wouldn't lose him in free agency.

If Bryant Mckinnie could improve on his run blocking, he would be a top 5 player at his position. He's already a great pass blocking tackle, but his run blocking needs improvement.

sleepagent
09-08-2006, 09:28 PM
Now that he's gonna get the money . . . let's see if he worth it!

UndisputedVike
09-08-2006, 09:39 PM
"WilliamsonOfTroy" wrote:


AWESOME! Bye far the best news I've heard all day! Its so ironic becuz I was thinking about that today.I was thinking that the second he became a FA next year, he'd be gone.I could see the SeaChickens signing him next year in retaliation to Hutch.GREAT news tho!!!


They don't need McKinnie, they have Walter Jones at LT.

PurplePride80
09-08-2006, 09:40 PM
"UndisputedVike" wrote:


"WilliamsonOfTroy" wrote:


AWESOME! Bye far the best news I've heard all day! Its so ironic becuz I was thinking about that today.I was thinking that the second he became a FA next year, he'd be gone.I could see the SeaChickens signing him next year in retaliation to Hutch.GREAT news tho!!!


They don't need McKinnie, they have Walter Jones at LT.


Exactly.

ZDoy379
09-08-2006, 09:48 PM
Vikings signed LT Bryant McKinnie to a seven-year, $48.5 million contract extension. The deal includes $18.1 million guaranteed.

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/player_main.aspx?sport=NFL&id=1210

Seems like we signed another OL to league record money. Oh well. Our left side is gonna be the best in the NFL for years to come now.

How long is Birk still on contract for?

thevikingfan
09-08-2006, 09:49 PM
"WilliamsonOfTroy" wrote:


AWESOME! Bye far the best news I've heard all day! Its so ironic becuz I was thinking about that today.I was thinking that the second he became a FA next year, he'd be gone.I could see the SeaChickens signing him next year in retaliation to Hutch.GREAT news tho!!!


SEACHICKENS!! ahahahaahaha! pure gold!

ejmat
09-08-2006, 09:55 PM
I wonder how much goes against this years cap.

Ltrey33
09-08-2006, 09:56 PM
That is WONDERFUL! I really thought he was going to leave after this year, but that is awesome he's staying.

Vikes_King
09-08-2006, 09:57 PM
WOOOHOOO lol, i was hoping they'd do it before the end of the season.. and by god lol.. the did it in a big way

Vikes_King
09-08-2006, 10:00 PM
got to love it.. they worked the contract near perfectly so that he would never make more then hutch, but damn, he's still maknig so much.

they always say no one gives enough credit to the offensive line.. well.. the vikings just changed that this year, the most over-looked position in football will get a lot more attention this year, all because of the two guys to the left of birk

thevikingfan
09-08-2006, 10:01 PM
in answe to ur question i belive ive read that it he would be getting something like 17.6 million (with the signing bonus) for the 2006 season! and although that is alot of money we now have the left side of the line signed through the 2011 season (wich by the way is when our lease of the metrodome ends) meaning we might have a new stadium by then (hopefully)

oakmage
09-08-2006, 10:06 PM
YEA YAHOOOooooooooo Just in case you did not get it I am very happy about this little piece of news.
It was a fear of mine that once McKinnie started to play well we would lose him in free angency that is a big relieve off of my head

ZDoy379
09-08-2006, 10:08 PM
Brad Childress knows when to sign players at the right time. Only if he would stop signing players he has coached before...

Vikes_King
09-08-2006, 10:10 PM
MORE DETAILS ON McKINNIE DEAL

We've picked up a few more details regarding the contract extension that has been agreed to, but not yet signed, between the Vikings and left tackle Bryant McKinnie.

The guaranteed money in the new contract is $17.25 million.
McKinnie's $900,000 salary, which becomes guaranteed as of Sunday night, pushes the total guarantee to $18.15 million.

The base value of the extension is seven years, $48.5 million.
There is an additional $5 million in escalators based on Pro Bowl appearances.
One Pro Bowl triggers $2.5 million, and a second Pro Bowl achieves the other $2.5 million.

So, to summarize:
Guaranteed money, $18.15 million; base value of new money, $48.5 million; snagging that kind of deal despite pleading guilty to disorderly conduct for performing oral sex on the Love Boat, priceless.

Vikes_King
09-08-2006, 10:13 PM
more proof that robby in the front office is a damn genious w/ contracts (read the part carefully about why the huge extension doesnt trigger the 'poison pill')



McKINNIE DEAL WON'T TRIGGER HUTCH POISON PILL

We've confirmed that the contract that will be signed by Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie after practice on Saturday will not trigger the so-called "poison pill" in left guard Steve Hutchinson's deal, which would make the entire seven-year, $49 million package fully guaranteed.

Jay Glazer indicated in his story breaking the news that the deal was close between McKinnie and the Vikings that the seven-year, $53 million extension does not make him the highest paid offensive lineman on the team.

The key, as we understand it, is annual average.
Though McKinnie's extension is worth more per year than Hutchinson's deal, the value of the remaining year of McKinnie's rookie deal keeps his average take below $7 million per year.

Another factor to keep in mind here is that Hutchinson and McKinnie are represented by the same sports agency.
The purpose of the poison pill wasn't to get Hutchinson $49 million guaranteed; it was to create an offer sheet that the Seahawks couldn't match.
Since Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones has a per-year average in excess of $7 million, the deal would have been fully guaranteed if Seattle had matched it.

oakmage
09-08-2006, 10:18 PM
"UndisputedVike" wrote:


"WilliamsonOfTroy" wrote:


AWESOME! Bye far the best news I've heard all day! Its so ironic becuz I was thinking about that today.I was thinking that the second he became a FA next year, he'd be gone.I could see the SeaChickens signing him next year in retaliation to Hutch.GREAT news tho!!!


They don't need McKinnie, they have Walter Jones at LT.


Who?
I hate to say this but I can not find Walter Jones on the Depth Chart is he on the practice squad?

happy camper
09-08-2006, 10:31 PM
"oakmage" wrote:


"UndisputedVike" wrote:


"WilliamsonOfTroy" wrote:


AWESOME! Bye far the best news I've heard all day! Its so ironic becuz I was thinking about that today.I was thinking that the second he became a FA next year, he'd be gone.I could see the SeaChickens signing him next year in retaliation to Hutch.GREAT news tho!!!


They don't need McKinnie, they have Walter Jones at LT.


Who?
I hate to say this but I can not find Walter Jones on the Depth Chart is he on the practice squad?


hilarious.
;D

NodakPaul
09-08-2006, 10:42 PM
Definately good news.
Our OL is starting to resemble the Minnesota Moving Company again.

HornedHat
09-08-2006, 10:49 PM
And one thing I liked about the Childress hiring was his professed interest in starting it all on the Lines. This is the kind of thinking I agree with, and this is the proof in the pudding. Now its all about gellin like Magellan.

VKG4LFE
09-08-2006, 11:02 PM
Good, I'm glad we are getting him locked up. He is a big man and has progressively gotten better. Our left side should be stout for a few years now barring injury!

VikesfaninWis
09-08-2006, 11:04 PM
Holy cow man.. I am happier then a little fat kid at the Old Country Buffet.. That is great news.. That is why I like the new owners, and coaches.. They know when they have talent, and they know when to sign them.. Good job Zygi, and Brad..

Mr. Purple
09-08-2006, 11:43 PM
"UndisputedVike" wrote:


"WilliamsonOfTroy" wrote:


AWESOME! Bye far the best news I've heard all day! Its so ironic becuz I was thinking about that today.I was thinking that the second he became a FA next year, he'd be gone.I could see the SeaChickens signing him next year in retaliation to Hutch.GREAT news tho!!!


They don't need McKinnie, they have Walter Jones at LT.



I know that, I'm not being serious, I was just being hypothetical.Thier such sore losers it wouldnt surprise me.

oakmage
09-08-2006, 11:58 PM
Oh Okay
:-[ I guess I am the one with egg on the face :-[

thevikingfan
09-09-2006, 12:33 AM
"oakmage" wrote:


"UndisputedVike" wrote:


"WilliamsonOfTroy" wrote:


AWESOME! Bye far the best news I've heard all day! Its so ironic becuz I was thinking about that today.I was thinking that the second he became a FA next year, he'd be gone.I could see the SeaChickens signing him next year in retaliation to Hutch.GREAT news tho!!!


They don't need McKinnie, they have Walter Jones at LT.


Who?
I hate to say this but I can not find Walter Jones on the Depth Chart is he on the practice squad?


i dont know if ur joking or not but i hope ur not cuz then u are an idiot walter jones is the best left tackle in the game (besides bryant mckiney this year that is) and currently plays for the seahawks

xlb57
09-09-2006, 12:37 AM
Looks as though we've got him inked to a 7-year $48.5 million dollar deal, keeping him just below Hutch's (highest paid o-lineman on the team clause of 7-year $49 million).
Check it out at www.espn.com.
I'm a fan of this deal.
Nothing like shoring up the left side of the o-line for several years.

HornedHat
09-09-2006, 12:38 AM
I am sure he was joking.

XxS2TheEvoxX
09-09-2006, 02:40 AM
McKinnie and Hutchinson on the left side for 7+ years is so scary to think about.

http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/4774/lockitupbx9.jpg
Hopefully you've seen the comercial or I'll look like a tard. It certainly wouldn't be the first time though.

Benet
09-09-2006, 05:20 AM
It doesn't go against this cap at all. He'll see out his rookie deal this year, and the extension comes into effect next year.

Benet
09-09-2006, 05:41 AM
From what I've read, the new money on the extension doesn't come into effect until next year. This is what keeps his average down as he's only scheduled to earn something like $900k this year. Next year his salaray jumps.

Zeus
09-09-2006, 06:44 AM
"thevikingfan" wrote:


"oakmage" wrote:


"UndisputedVike" wrote:


"WilliamsonOfTroy" wrote:


AWESOME! Bye far the best news I've heard all day! Its so ironic becuz I was thinking about that today.I was thinking that the second he became a FA next year, he'd be gone.I could see the SeaChickens signing him next year in retaliation to Hutch.GREAT news tho!!!


They don't need McKinnie, they have Walter Jones at LT.


Who?
I hate to say this but I can not find Walter Jones on the Depth Chart is he on the practice squad?


i dont know if ur joking or not but i hope ur not cuz then u are an idiot walter jones is the best left tackle in the game (besides bryant mckiney this year that is) and currently plays for the seahawks


Easy, dood, no reason to call someone a name.

=Z=

Prophet
09-09-2006, 06:45 AM
"Vikes_King" wrote:


MORE DETAILS ON McKINNIE DEAL

We've picked up a few more details regarding the contract extension that has been agreed to, but not yet signed, between the Vikings and left tackle Bryant McKinnie.

The guaranteed money in the new contract is $17.25 million.
McKinnie's $900,000 salary, which becomes guaranteed as of Sunday night, pushes the total guarantee to $18.15 million.

The base value of the extension is seven years, $48.5 million.
There is an additional $5 million in escalators based on Pro Bowl appearances.
One Pro Bowl triggers $2.5 million, and a second Pro Bowl achieves the other $2.5 million.

So, to summarize:
Guaranteed money, $18.15 million; base value of new money, $48.5 million; snagging that kind of deal despite pleading guilty to disorderly conduct for performing oral sex on the Love Boat, priceless.



Good news.

At a minimum, give credit where credit is due.
Include links to articles and the author's name.
http://www.profootballtalk.com/rumormill.htm

Zeus
09-09-2006, 06:47 AM
"Benet" wrote:


It doesn't go against this cap at all. He'll see out his rookie deal this year, and the extension comes into effect next year.


I was just about to get on you for "see out his rookie deal" when I recalled that you are English and, thus, have a head-start on the rest of us with the language.

=Z=
BTW - is this how it is when you Europeans are on here?
3 threads about Bryant McKinnie and no one to merge/lock them?

whackthepack
09-09-2006, 03:17 PM
Great news and I hope that this solidifies our line for years to come!!!


I don't want to complain, but I wish they would have thrown a bone to Brad Johnson!
They don't have to give him a long term deal but slim him an extra 4 or 5 million and make the dude at least happy!
He is the starting QB and I know that he signed a deal but that was to be a backup and not the stater, so give him some cash,
they did it for Daunte in training camp last year!

sleepagent
09-09-2006, 06:04 PM
"whackthepack" wrote:


I don't want to complain, but I wish they would have thrown a bone to Brad Johnson!


Agreed.

Hopefully he's next.

KWilliamsAWinfield
09-09-2006, 06:37 PM
"sleepagent" wrote:


"whackthepack" wrote:


I don't want to complain, but I wish they would have thrown a bone to Brad Johnson!


Agreed.

Hopefully he's next.



Then after Brad Johnson, next should be Kevin Williams

ejmat
09-09-2006, 06:49 PM
"sleepagent" wrote:


"whackthepack" wrote:


I don't want to complain, but I wish they would have thrown a bone to Brad Johnson!


Agreed.

Hopefully he's next.



I agree too.
He deserves it.

NordicNed
09-09-2006, 08:42 PM
"HornedHat" wrote:


And one thing I liked about the Childress hiring was his professed interest in starting it all on the Lines. This is the kind of thinking I agree with, and this is the proof in the pudding. Now its all about gellin like Magellan.






I'm gellin, are you gellin?... ;D

whackthepack
09-10-2006, 01:40 PM
"KWilliamsAWinfield" wrote:


"sleepagent" wrote:


"whackthepack" wrote:


I don't want to complain, but I wish they would have thrown a bone to Brad Johnson!


Agreed.

Hopefully he's next.



Then after Brad Johnson, next should be Kevin Williams



True enough need to keep both of those guys happy.

singersp
09-16-2006, 10:49 AM
Posted on Sat, Sep. 16, 2006

$16,000 per pound (http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/sports/football/15533078.htm)

The price of QB-protecting, hole-opening, beefy players is increasing

RICK BONNELL
rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

Beef prices are rising, but this is absurd.

The left side of the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line will reportedly make $103 million over the next seven seasons. That's roughly $16,000 a pound for earth-movers Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson.

At least McKinnie plays the sexier left-tackle position. Hutchinson, signed away from the Seattle Seahawks, plays guard and doesn't expect fans to understand why he's worth $49 million.

"When I'm watching Monday Night Football and I'm not in, its hard to follow the interior of the line. It's hard enough to follow the tackle," Hutchinson said. "But when you turn on the film on Monday, if you're a player, you're watching the interior line and they are getting on the linebackers and moving the interior of the defensive line. You can see why there is success."

Hutchinson is a success. Selected to the Pro Bowl three of his five seasons in Seattle, he was the guy opening holes for running back Shaun Alexander. Sunday he'll face one of the NFL's best defensive lines when the Vikings take on the Carolina Panthers.

Brad Childress, formerly the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive coordinator, took over as Vikings coach this season. Childress is committed to running the ball and needs to keep Brad Johnson -- a 38-year-old quarterback -- on his feet.

So Childress finds it easy to justify Hutchinson's salary.

"The fight starts up-front, the offensive and defensive fronts," Childress said. "You can have the best ideas in the world, and if you're sitting on your butt as the quarterback, you've got no chance."

That's become an economic imperative in this age of NFL free-agency.

Quarterbacks might be superstars and wide receivers might be divas, but it's still about blocking and tackling. When someone blocks like Hutchinson, they get paid.

He didn't want to leave Seattle, where three of his four line mates were with him most of five seasons. A baseball pitcher can be effective the day he joins a new team, but offensive linemen need continuity.

Still, he figures the Seahawks had their chance to keep him, and never should have let the Vikings reach out on the first day of free-agency.

"I think Minnesota basically made the decision for me," with that huge offer, Hutchinson recalled.

"Seattle had over a year" to retain him.

If fans question how he's worth all that, it doesn't bother Hutchinson. Not when he's asked to stop massive Kris Jenkins on one play, then pull and block a cornerback on the next

"It's not just, `Put your head down and push somebody,' " Hutchinson said of his job.

CCthebest
09-16-2006, 03:11 PM
Too bad they couldnt spend some money on BJ and a really good receiver....

V4L
09-16-2006, 04:18 PM
"CCthebest" wrote:


Too bad they couldnt spend some money on BJ and a really good receiver....


I agree with BJ.. But what really good reciever are you talking about? Is there anyone really available?




One Love

singersp
10-01-2006, 08:16 AM
Posted on Sun, Oct. 01, 2006

Paid in full (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/football/15644507.htm)

With the offseason signing of guard Steve Hutchinson and offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie's recent contract extension, the Vikings have two of the NFL's highest-paid offensive linemen, and center Matt Birk isn't that far behind. Here's a list of the linemen with the highest per-year average pay.


1. OT Jonathan Ogden Ravens........$8.33M
2. OT Orlando Pace Rams...............$7.56M
3. OT Walter Jones Seahawks.........$7.5M
4. G Steve Hutchinson Vikings...$7M
5T. OT Chris Samuel Redskins........$6.5M
5T. OT Levi Jones Bengals..............$6.5M
7T. OT Matt Lepsis Broncos.............$6.25M
7T. OT Jeff Backus Lions................$6.25M
9. OT Bryant McKinnie Vikings...$6.06M*
10. C LeCharles Bentley Browns......$6M
34. C Matt Birk Vikings..............$4.3M

Source: NFL Player Association figures

*Seven-year, $48.5 million extension could be worth $54 million, including escalator clauses and incentives.

singersp
10-01-2006, 08:22 AM
Posted on Sun, Oct. 01, 2006

ARE THEY WORTH IT? (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/football/15644513.htm)

The Vikings' well-paid offensive line has started slowly, but the team and NFL analysts believe it's only a matter of time before the unit emerges as one of the league's best.

The rushing numbers are nothing special: No. 18 in the NFL, 107.7 yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry.

After all the preseason hype, more was expected of the Vikings' offensive line, coming off an offseason in which the team lured all-pro left guard Steve Hutchinson away from Seattle with a seven-year, $49 million contract.

Including the seven-year, $48.5 million extension left tackle Bryant McKinnie signed three weeks ago and center Matt Birk's $4 million to $5 million-a-year deal, the Vikings have more than $128 million invested in the port side of their offensive line.

So, why hasn't their high-priced trio produced better rushing numbers?

Players and coaches keep citing two factors: the fact that the entire five-man unit, including right guard Artis Hicks and right tackle Marcus Johnson, still is learning to play together, and that it has faced some of the NFL's best defensive lines.

Fox analyst Brian Baldinger said it's a legitimate defense.

"The Redskins and the Bears right there, and the Panthers, too, that's three of the better defensive lines in football," he said. "I saw the first game live against the Redskins, and I was very impressed. Their down defensive linemen are very difficult to move, and I thought that Hutchinson and Birk and McKinnie and Kleinsasser — I put Jim in there with the offensive line — did an outstanding job of just beating on those guys and coming after people."

Baldinger hasn't noticed defenses overloading against the Vikings' left side, but the offense has been seeing a lot of eight-man fronts from teams that are more concerned about stopping the run than they are scared of being burned by the pass.

"It just depends on the scheme of the defense you're playing," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "Chicago is really going to try to stop the run and have more deep guys around the box. It's a similar style this week (against Buffalo). It's a Chicago-style defense again. We're still going to try to run the ball, but our passing game has got to help us."

Looking at the center position, Baldinger said it's tough to evaluate Birk, who doesn't pull nearly as much he did in former coach Mike Tice's system. But CBS analyst Randy Cross said the four-time Pro Bowl selection doesn't appear to have lost anything after sitting out all last season following hip surgery.

Baldinger isn't as high on McKinnie, even though he gets high marks as a pass protector.

"Now I don't think Bryant McKinnie is a great run blocker," Baldinger said. "I've never thought he was a great run blocker. I don't think he cuts off on the backside real well. I don't think he gets underneath people's pads. His greatest strength is just his size and the fact that he takes up so much space."

Still, as important as left tackles are, neither analyst would fault the Vikings for locking up McKinnie with his big-money deal.

"I'm a little prejudiced about that," said Cross, a three-time all-pro guard in 13 seasons with San Francisco. "Not everybody can get by with what some teams like the Patriots do with their line. They have found and/or created many guys. Indy's done the same thing. Sometimes you've just got to cough it up."

The Vikings coughed it up big time for McKinnie and Hutchinson, who said it takes time for five linemen playing together for the first time in a new system to come together but that the line is getting there.

"It's not like the rest of the league is garbage," he said. "Everybody is good. This week we've got a test. They've got a fast defensive line and a quick defense. So we've got our work cut out for us again, but it's something we have to keep pushing and hope we get better week to week."

Cross helped call the Bills' 28-20 loss to the New York Jets last week for CBS and said he was impressed by the quickness of the Buffalo defense, which ranks 11th overall in the NFL but just 21st against the run.

Throw in the fact that linebacker Takeo Spikes is questionable because of a hamstring injury and unlikely to play and this could be the breakout rushing game for which the Vikings have been waiting.

"Hopefully, after this week, I'll be able to give you a better answer," McKinnie said. "We've had a lot more meetings and communication amongst us, and we've been able to express a few more ideas we think can work for us. Hopefully, this will be (the week)."

Whether it's this week or next month, Baldinger said he still expects this to be one of the NFL's dominant units in time.

"I believe it can be," he said. "I wouldn't be overly concerned right now with the yards per rush. I think they're going to play a lot better. They're going to have big games. I would put them in the top five, and I think that's where they should be by the season's end."

Cross agrees, and he said the Vikings' line has played better than its statistics.

"There's a difference between having great stats and running when you have to," he said. "I think this is a team that will have the ability to run when it has to. If you rush for 115 or 120 yards but there are signs of life there in the fourth quarter and you win 20-14 or 17-10, does that mean you had a bad running game? I don't think so personally."

The Vikings have done some of their best running during the fourth quarter and overtime. Feature back Chester Taylor has picked up 107 of his 275 yards in those two periods.

It will take more than that, though, for this line to live up to its preseason expectations, which were raised exponentially when they signed Hutchinson.

With Birk back at center and the massive McKinnie at tackle, the Vikings' line was projected to be one of the best in the NFL. Said Birk: "We can be. We have a lot of talent, but I think the best thing we have going for us is we're willing to work. Guys come to practice to work and get better, and they care."

BANG FOR THE BUCK

To Baldinger, who played guard, center and tackle during a 13-year NFL career with Dallas, Indianapolis and Philadelphia, that was one of the big reasons why Vikings coach Brad Childress went out and made Hutchinson his first really big free-agent signing, "as much for his mentality as his ability."

But has he played up to his hefty price tag?

"His expectations are like Alex Rodriguez when he got a $250 million contract," Baldinger said. "I don't know how you could ever play up to them. Salary structure aside, I don't know why you would ever pay a guard that kind of money, but if you can get it, you can get it."

Cross said he has watched the Vikings only on tape this season but that Hutchinson has made an obvious difference and upgraded the entire offensive line.

"You rarely get good value for your money with free agency, and it's hard to quantify linemen because not many people can look at it and know what the heck they're talking about," Cross said. "To me, it seems like it's definitely money well spent. You'd be hard-pressed to get Matt or the big guy there, McKinnie, to tell you anything different."

Birk had a quick answer when asked to evaluate Hutchinson's play.

"Horse(bleep)," he said, laughing. "No, he's played great. He's a guy with great talent but also a great work ethic. He strives every day to get better. That's what you want from one of your leaders."

The way the Vikings see it, it's only a matter of time before all that hard work pays off and they start reaping the dividends of their multimillion-dollar investment.

Sean Jensen contributed to this report. Don Seeholzer can be reached at dseeholzer@pioneerpress.com.

BY DON SEEHOLZER
Pioneer Press

Torontovik15
10-01-2006, 09:15 AM
Honestly, u can look at this several ways, sure they maybe the first to have a 100mil left side. In 3 yrs, they will not be the only 100mil tandem. The way that other team throw away money, like washington, both Hutch and McKinny will definetly not in the top 10.


The biggest impact there contracts will have, will be on the francise tags for there positions, the escalator just went up huge.