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Is Big Mac Pro Bowl Material?

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I recently expressed my surprise that Bryant McKinnie is not only in the Pro Bowl conversation, but is leading the NFC in fan voting for left tackles.

Then some of you expressed surprise about me expressing my surprise.

So, here’s a brief glimpse into my take on McKinnie.

He is no doubt having one of his best years.  As Pat pointed out in the comments, he has only given up one sack this year.  Also, the whole point of a Pro Bowl nod is to base your decision off of this year’s performance, not what a player has done in the past.  Add that to McKinnie’s ability to run block and it shouldn’t surprise me that McKinnie is Pro Bowl favorite this year, right?

Sure, I buy that.

But, here is what I see when I evaluate McKinnie’s impact on the 2009 Vikings.  I see a player whom the team cannot depend on to play all season.  The team can’t trust him to stay out of trouble and keep himself from being suspended.  I don’t know about you, but I am still in the state of mind where I wonder when McKinnie will bash someone over the head with a pole again or when he’ll fly in a gaggle of strippers from Atlanta again.  The guy has proved he can’t be depended on to hold his career and the team’s success as his highest priority.

Also, I see a guy who still struggles in pass protection, despite the numbers.  He constantly needs help.  The Vikings coaching staff has finally realized that he can’t be trusted to keep a quarterback upright, so they are almost always lining Jim Kleinsasser or Jeff Dugan up next to him on passing plays.  Having these guys on the field to help McKinnie, who makes enough money to where he shouldn’t need help, means that a playmaker has been taken off the field.  With a solid pass protector at left tackle, the Vikings could use Percy Harvin or two back sets on a far more regular basis.

Take a look at who the Vikings have played thus far:  Browns, Lions (twice), Niners, Packers (twice), Rams, Ravens, and Steelers.  That means McKinnie has gone up against Robaire Smith, Corey Williams, David Bowens, Dewayne White, Cliff Avril, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Parys Haralson, Cullen Jenkins, Clay Matthews, Jeremy Thompson, Mike Montgomery, Chris Long, James Hall, Haloti Ngata, Paul Kruger, Terrell Suggs, Brett Keisel, and James Harrison.

How many names in there scare you besides Ngata, Suggs, Keisel and Harrison?  The one game we lost against the Steelers was pretty much decided because of Keisel and Harrison getting to Favre. 

Upcoming, McKinnie will get to face Patrick Kerney, Alex Brown, Darnell Dockett, Bertrand Berry, Julius Peppers, Michael Johnson, and Osi Umenyiora.  To me there are a few more credible names on this list.

So, that’s what it boils down to for me.  McKinnie is a player who gets paid a lot of money to be an elite blocker in BOTH the run and pass game.  He has managed to stay out of trouble for more than a whole year.  He, with consistent help from the tight ends, has excelled at both run and pass blocking against lesser opponents for the most part.  However, coming up are going to be some of his biggest tests of the year.

He needs to finish strong before I will begin to trust McKinnie and it will be a lot tougher for him to finish strong than it was for him to start strong.

I, for one, hope he pleasantly surprises me.


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15 Responses to “Is Big Mac Pro Bowl Material?”

  1. Purple Charlie says:

    I’m not going to argue with anything you’ve said,I agree 1oo%,He is making the big buck and shouldn’t need help that much, It is nice to see he hasn’t got in trouble lately,That was one guy I wondered about on the bye week…

  2. Viking John says:

    I don’t think he will ever be elite. He is not bad, but is not great either. He is a good left tackle. Go Vikes

  3. Fragile Fred Smoot says:

    Amen to your article.

    Strippers huh? Fred would never, but, let’s not get off the subject.

    I agree, Fred just doesn’t trust Bryant. Round one Fred hopes for a steroid infested offensive lineman next year.

    Look who’s here, Viking Johns! Hi Johns!

  4. bigjohnny84 says:

    Ican see them giving Loadholt a little help but Im with Adam, Bmac shouldnt need help with the money hes making.

  5. bigjohnny84 says:

    Just read Chili signed an extension. Hope I’m wrong but I gotta feeling this was a big mistake by the Wilfs

  6. Ole says:

    McKinnie is benefiting from playing next to Hutchinson. Hutch often drives his man into the ground, McKinnie seldom, if ever, does this.

  7. Adam Warwas says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Hutch makes everyone around him better.

  8. Viking John says:

    I have heard some rumors that since Big Mac has got a new agent that he will want a new contract also? Go Vikes

    • Adam Warwas says:

      That could be true, John. The new agent doesn’t get paid until the NEXT contract is signed… so despite what Big Mac thinks, his agent will be itchin’ for a new deal.

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