When the Vikings announced that they’d crashed the official Pay Peyton Less Party to swipe left tackle Charlie Johnson, it initially appeared unlikely that Johnson would become the starting left tackle in Minnesota, given the presence of tenth-year veteran Bryant McKinnie.
But with the placement of McKinnie on the non-football injury list, speculation already has commenced that Johnson could be in, and McKinnie could be out.
The concern is that McKinnie possibly did little to stay in shape during the lockout (other than work out with female tennis players), which has resulted in McKinnie showing up for training camp overweight. Asked about McKinnie’s scale-tipping skills on Monday, coach Leslie Frazier said (per Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press), “[W]e’re working on that. We’re working on that.”
The biggest clue regarding McKinnie’s prospects in Minnesota may have come not from the signing of Johnson, but from the pursuit of Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod, as reported last week by Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. Some believe that, if the Vikings had landed Bushrod, McKinnie would have been cut.
And that means there’s every reason to keep an eye on McKinnie’s status over the coming weeks. Though Johnson is able to move to other positions than left tackle, he ultimately may not have to.