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Archive for Saturday, November 2, 2002

Last unsigned first-round pick ends holdout

November 2, 2002

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— First-round draft pick Bryant McKinnie ended his 98-day holdout Friday, agreeing to a five-year, $13.3 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings that includes a $9.35 million signing bonus.

The All-American offensive tackle out of Miami was the seventh pick of the first round in April. He became the only unsigned first-rounder when defensive tackle Wendell Bryant, the 12th overall pick, signed with the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 12.

The Vikings had until Nov. 12 to sign McKinnie otherwise he would have been ineligible to play this season.

McKinnie, who will be paid for the entire 2002 season despite missing half of it, left for Minnesota on Friday and will sign the contract today. He'll be at practice on Monday.

"I'm elated with this contract," he said. "I know this has taken some time, but ... I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to put on a Vikings uniform. I feel like my dream is just about to begin. I can't wait to play in my first game."

Agents Ben Dogra and Jim Steiner turned down what the Vikings declared a final offer on Aug. 1, a five-year, $13.1 million contract that included an $8.1 million signing bonus. The No. 8 pick, Dallas safety Roy Williams, got a bonus of $9.3 million.

Owner Red McCombs was upset with the agents' tactics, and talks broke off. But negotiations started again in earnest last week with the deadline looming.

"It's been a long, difficult process," said Rob Brzezinski, Minnesota's vice president of football administration and lead contract negotiator.

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