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Leslie Frazier takes the high road on Bryant McKinnie

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For the past few years, the Vikings quietly have tolerated the periodic antics of left tackle Bryant McKinnie, primarily because he could still from time to time bring it on game day (except when facing Julius Peppers).  But as time went by and with more of the success of the left side of the line tracing to guard Steve Hutchinson and not McKinnie — and with McKinnie reportedly showing up able to do the full rotation on a normal bathroom scale plus 50 — the Vikings needed to move on.

The way they handled the situation has provided the most concrete example yet that the team’s new coach has, and will keep, the respect of his players.

“We made a decision for our organization that we thought was the best thing as we’re trying to bring a world championship to Minnesota,” Frazier said Wednesday, per Tom Pelissero of 1500espn.com.  “In order for us to do that, there are certain things I talked to our team about on that first night, that Sunday night, that we got together as a group and I talked to them about the criteria and what I thought was necessary to win in our league, and in order for us to get where we need to go, there are certain things that have to happen.

“In Bryant’s case, he’s been a terrific player for the Vikings. I love him as a person.  We’ve gotten a great relationship together.  But at this point, for all parties involved, I just thought it was the right thing to do, and I’m sure he’s going to catch on with a team and he’s going to do well.  He’s a terrific player right now, but for where we are right now and where we’re trying to go to, it just wasn’t the right fit for the direction that we want to go.”

Surely, there’s more to this story.  And former coach Brad Childress would have been tempted to throw a few barbs if he were the one making the move.  But Frazier knows that he gains nothing by taking potshots or airing dirty laundry.

The decision to dump a long-time left tackle is nearly as important as the decision to move on from a long-time starting quarterback.  The Vikings made it, and Frazier felt no need to justify the move by talking badly about McKinnie, even if Frazier could have.

So even though there was an undercurrent of hostility toward McKinnie in the locker room, players tend to appreciate it when that stuff remains in house.

Also differentiating Frazier’s handling of the situation from what his predecessor did in a similar case?  Frazier let the guy who signs the checks know what was going on.  Per Pelissero, owner Zygi Wilf said he knew the move was coming.

“The team is in Coach Frazier’s hands,” Wilf said.  “I’m not going to worry about that.  He has my full confidence.”

More importantly, Frazier has the confidence of the locker room.  And that could help the entire organization secure the approval of the fans.

And maybe that will get the powers-that-be in Minnesota more willing to build the team its new stadium.

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40 Responses to “Leslie Frazier takes the high road on Bryant McKinnie”
  1. offsideburns says: Aug 4, 2011 1:34 PM

    Frazier is a class act.

  2. kobra2k4 says: Aug 4, 2011 1:35 PM

    His listed weight is 325 and McKinnie showed up weighing over 400….as punishment he should have to run the 40 shirtless and have video uploaded to youtube.

  3. valhallarising says: Aug 4, 2011 1:39 PM

    If moving on from a long time starting Left Tackle is like moving on from a long time starting Quarterback then moving on from Bryant McKinnie is like moving on from Brian Griese…

  4. fargovikesfan says: Aug 4, 2011 1:42 PM

    big difference from the previous regime. We have a coach that learned about how to run things from Tony Dungy and be a class act while doing it. Not some screwball egomaniac who thinks he’s smarter than everyone in the room while in reality having the personality of 3 day old white bread and looking like a Major Dad stunt double.

  5. shaggytoodle says: Aug 4, 2011 1:43 PM

    The last time someone didn’t take the high road with McKinnie, got beat down.

  6. hobartbaker says: Aug 4, 2011 1:45 PM

    Les took the high road because there was a wide load on the low road that had traffic ground to a halt.

  7. minnesotablizzard says: Aug 4, 2011 1:48 PM

    No reason the Vikings can’t make the playoffs this year as long as McNabb keeps up with his historically good TD/INT ratio and the Vikings just pound teams with Adrian/Gerhart in 2-3 TE sets. Wear teams down and then let McNabb throw a few deep balls to Percy. The Defense will need to step up though

  8. Soulman45 says: Aug 4, 2011 1:53 PM

    The team headed to LA, the city council voted to move the vote to the full council for approval to build.

  9. asarabi says: Aug 4, 2011 1:53 PM

    “And maybe that will get the powers-that-be in Minnesota more willing to build the team its new stadium.” This is silly lazy writing. When in the history of professional sports in this country or any other country has a coaches control over the locker room led to the construction of a billion dollar stadium?

    I can imagine this exchange in the legislature: “You know what guys, those Vikings really have a classy coach. He fires employees with hugs and sends them off on magical unicorns to worlds of fantasy. Let’s give them $800 million to build a stadium.”

  10. drshankenstein says: Aug 4, 2011 1:57 PM

    It will be interesting to see who picks him up. Just because he’s fat, out of shape and a trouble maker, doesn’t mean he won’t get picked up (Haynesworth)

  11. theytukrjobs says: Aug 4, 2011 1:58 PM

    At first I was a bit on the fence with the move from a “did the team get better or worse” standpoint. I was glad to see McKinnie gone personally, but worried our line got worse.

    But when I heard he was at 400 lbs, after the Vikings wanted him at 340 – 350, I realized there really wasn’t a decision to be made. On top of that, the guy has cholesterol problems apparently.

    Bottom line is even if Bryant stayed, he wouldn’t have been ready to play until well into the season. One month isn’t long enough to go from 400 lbs with too high of cholesterol to work out down to 350 lbs and in peak shape. There just is no way this guy is playing this year until at least halfway through, assuming he doesn’t just get bigger left to his own devices.

  12. cmj2010 says: Aug 4, 2011 1:59 PM

    Frazier, saturated with McKinnie’s Rocky Road habit, wisely decides to take the high road..

  13. purpleguy says: Aug 4, 2011 2:01 PM

    Makes you wonder how much success the team would have had if Frasier had been the head coach 3 years ago. And for the zillionth flipping time, the team ain’t going to LA.

  14. visnovsky says: Aug 4, 2011 2:02 PM

    #FireChilly

  15. prior0knowledge says: Aug 4, 2011 2:07 PM

    I can imagine this exchange in the legislature: “You know what guys, those Vikings really have a classy coach. He fires employees with hugs and sends them off on magical unicorns to worlds of fantasy. Let’s give them $800 million to build a stadium.”

    Actually, I can imagine that in Minnesota. I can even believe they’d use the word “unicorn” in the speech. Didn’t Minnesota elect professional wrestler Jesse Ventura as governor?

  16. purplepride4ever says: Aug 4, 2011 2:08 PM

    Vikings are staying in Minnesota. You can count on it!

  17. rusty81 says: Aug 4, 2011 2:10 PM

    asarabi says:Aug 4, 2011 1:53 PM

    …”I can imagine this exchange in the legislature: “You know what guys, those Vikings really have a classy coach. He fires employees with hugs and sends them off on magical unicorns to worlds of fantasy. Let’s give them $800 million to build a stadium.””
    =============================

    ridiculous post. pretty sure the idea behind the statement was if the fanbase supports the current coach and team, public perception of the stadium deal would likely be more favorable and thus more likely.

  18. smoothjimmyapollo says: Aug 4, 2011 2:12 PM

    “No reason the Vikings can’t make the playoffs this year …”

    I understand it’s the NFL and anything can happen, but it’s hard to argue that the Vikings will make the playoffs. You figure the Pack, Eagles, the default NFC west winner, and either the Saints or Falcons will win their divisions. That leaves the Saints/Falcons runner-up as one likely wild card, with the Bucs, Lions, Giants, maybe an NFC west runner up, maybe the Bears, and maybe the Cowboys as teams the Vikings would have to beat out for one spot. In fact, the only NFC teams that I would feel comfortable saying the Vikings are better than would be the Panthers, Redskins, and 49ers. It was a smart move picking up McNabb so they don’t ruin Ponder, but he puts them more in 6-7 win territory rather than 4-5 win territory.

  19. iamthorny says: Aug 4, 2011 2:20 PM

    I’m sure Bryant would love to take the high road, too, but it would probably collapse…

  20. brewdogg says: Aug 4, 2011 2:25 PM

    kobra2k4 says:
    Aug 4, 2011 1:35 PM
    His listed weight is 325 and McKinnie showed up weighing over 400….as punishment he should have to run the 40 shirtless and have video uploaded to youtube.
    —————————————–

    Who wins there? Why do you want Youtube viewers punished?

  21. pftequalsgreatjournalism says: Aug 4, 2011 2:26 PM

    cmj2010 says:
    Aug 4, 2011 1:59 PM
    Frazier, saturated with McKinnie’s Rocky Road habit, wisely decides to take the high road..

    ————————————

    Please stop mimicing hobart; his nonsense is bad enough….

  22. brewdogg says: Aug 4, 2011 2:26 PM

    Joking aside, this is what we expected from Frazier. Good guys don’t always win, but at least they get respect, and that is something that has been missing from the Vikings head coach position for some time now.

  23. cusoman says: Aug 4, 2011 2:28 PM

    offsideburns says:
    Aug 4, 2011 1:34 PM
    Frazier is a class act.

    ————–

    Agreed! But can he (head) coach? That’s the big question. I have lots of confidence he will succeed, but that’s easy to say when you’re coming off such a buffoon for a previous HC.

  24. 4gone says: Aug 4, 2011 2:43 PM

    Now if they can just replace the other four they’ll have something. The O-line is what held them back the last 2 years. Bad run blocking, bad pass blocking.

  25. citizenstrange says: Aug 4, 2011 2:46 PM

    “Trade him for a six-pack … and it doesn’t have to be cold.” — Buddy Ryan

  26. corndogluv says: Aug 4, 2011 3:02 PM

    Did someone say championshimp. I thank the word championship and mcnabb is an oxymoron.

  27. brewdogg says: Aug 4, 2011 3:05 PM

    citizenstrange says:
    Aug 4, 2011 2:46 PM
    “Trade him for a six-pack … and it doesn’t have to be cold.” — Buddy Ryan
    ——————————-

    This seems like the perfect place for a good fat guy joke:

    Who wants a six-pack when you can have a keg?

  28. deadeye says: Aug 4, 2011 3:18 PM

    Referring to McKinnie as a fat sack of crap IS taking the high road. The dude is much much worse than that.

  29. mnsportsguy79 says: Aug 4, 2011 3:32 PM

    I have more and more respect for Frazier every single day. Vikings may not win the North, but they will make the playoffs…9-7 at worst. You heard it here first!

  30. vikefan says: Aug 4, 2011 3:37 PM

    Now if they can just replace the other four they’ll have something. The O-line is what held them back the last 2 years. Bad run blocking, bad pass blocking.
    _____________________________
    doubt it, im still a believer that it was the head coach trying to place square pegs in round holes everywhere on the team with the “my way or highway” approach. Chili singlehandedly let pro bowler Matt Birk leave & did not beg free agent Artis Hicks to stay last year either. Wilfs let the wrong coach go last time when DC Tomlin left for Pittsburgh, I think they got it right this time. Mike Tice got more out of his players than chili ever did, even though the players danced around him off the field, they certainly respected him enuff to play all out on the field for him which I think Frasier will earn as well, chili never earned that kind of respect and constantly called out players in the media.

  31. jebdamone says: Aug 4, 2011 3:41 PM

    best shape of his life after playing tennis with venus all summer….

  32. jebdamone says: Aug 4, 2011 3:49 PM

    actually…what the F happened? i just watched some of the footage of his tennis lessons with venus this summer and he really did look pretty slim compared to what he’s looked like in the past. she must not have given it up and he went on a month long eating binge or something.

  33. mnpacker says: Aug 4, 2011 4:04 PM

    @mnsportsguy
    Actually I heard it earlier in these comments, and it wasn’t anymore true then

  34. purplehayseuss says: Aug 4, 2011 4:14 PM

    corndogluv says: Aug 4, 2011 3:02 PM

    Did someone say championshimp. I thank the word championship and mcnabb is an oxymoron.

    Here you are again, corndogluv.

    I’ll argue this time. There are literally dozens of NFL QB names that will qualify for what you are describing, even if you are taking full swings with a machete to the English language while doing it.

    Here’s a tip: Put the Corndog DOWN while you type. Here’s another tip: open your eyes at the same time. Last one: read what you just ‘wrote’ before you click ‘Submit’.

  35. thephantomstranger says: Aug 4, 2011 4:28 PM

    This is the first head coach we’ve had since Bud Grant retired that I can truly respect. Jerry Burns was a cartoon character, Denny Green was an egomaniac, Mike Tice was a buffoon, and Chilly was a little dictator with no discernible football acumen. Even if you’re just a competent coach, having the respect of the players and the fans goes a long way toward having success. I think Leslie is going to build something really good here.

  36. MossMoon2Packers says: Aug 4, 2011 5:19 PM

    The more I see of Frazier, the more I like. No one will mistake him for Bill Walsh, but he doesn’t have to be. I think he knows his limitations and has brought in good football coaches and given them the latitude to run various aspects of the offence (especially). I’m fully confident that, if he’s got enough talented players to work with, he is fully capable of leading this team to the playoffs and a SB.

  37. brewdogg says: Aug 4, 2011 6:02 PM

    thephantomstranger says:
    Aug 4, 2011 4:28 PM

    Jerry Burns was a cartoon character

    ————————————

    He really does bear strong resemblance to the Simpson’s character, doesn’t he….

  38. paulharghis says: Aug 4, 2011 9:59 PM

    smoothjimmyapollo says:
    Aug 4, 2011 2:12 PM
    “No reason the Vikings can’t make the playoffs this year …”

    I understand it’s the NFL and anything can happen, but it’s hard to argue that the Vikings will make the playoffs. You figure the Pack, Eagles, the default NFC west winner, and either the Saints or Falcons will win their divisions. That leaves the Saints/Falcons runner-up as one likely wild card, with the Bucs, Lions, Giants, maybe an NFC west runner up, maybe the Bears, and maybe the Cowboys as teams the Vikings would have to beat out for one spot. In fact, the only NFC teams that I would feel comfortable saying the Vikings are better than would be the Panthers, Redskins, and 49ers. It was a smart move picking up McNabb so they don’t ruin Ponder, but he puts them more in 6-7 win territory rather than 4-5 win territory.

    =================================
    Another Packer fan idiot predicting wins and losses and passing out playoff spots before the games have even been played?
    Color me suprised……….

  39. thephantomstranger says: Aug 4, 2011 11:08 PM

    brewdogg says:
    Aug 4, 2011 6:02 PM
    thephantomstranger says:
    Aug 4, 2011 4:28 PM

    Jerry Burns was a cartoon character

    ————————————

    He really does bear strong resemblance to the Simpson’s character, doesn’t he….
    _____________

    I was thinking of Burgess Meredith’s portrayal of The Penguin.

  40. randleguy says: Aug 7, 2011 3:31 PM

    It is a shame to have all that talent that has McKinnie and waste it. When he played up to his potential he was a top 5 player (the NFC Championship Game, Shut out the Saints on his side). Hopefully the music industry will work out for him.
    Also best of luck to T-Jack, I think he may surprize everyone.

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