McKinnie's stature on the rise

Bryant McKinnie is hard to miss on the football field. Inconspicuous doesn't generally apply when you're 6-8, weigh 335 pounds and wear a size 18 shoe.

But sometimes, when members of the Vikings offense are watching film, it's impossible for them to ignore the damage inflicted by their gigantic left tackle, Big Mac.

"It's rare when you see an offensive lineman just use one arm and literally rag-doll people out of the screen with one throw," right guard Anthony Herrera said.

"When he gets his hands on somebody, he can reject him," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "It's like he's throwing somebody out of the bar. Gone. That guy flies off the film, the guy's on his back. We'd like to see that every single play."

That, of course, has always been the knock on McKinnie, the No. 7 pick in the 2002 NFL draft. He's long possessed the talent to become an elite left tackle, but inconsistency and off-the-field issues have prevented him from realizing his potential.

That might be changing.

At age 30 and in his eighth season, McKinnie said he's playing arguably the best football of his career. He's in better shape after incorporating different offseason training methods, including yoga, racquetball and tennis. Yes, hard to picture but true.

He said he's also in a good place mentally after enduring some embarrassing incidents in recent years, including the infamous Love Boat scandal and his arrest after a fight outside a Miami nightclub that resulted in a four-game suspension at the start of last season.

McKinnie, who received a seven-year, $48.5 million contract extension in 2006, said he made some changes in his life and that he wants to be recognized for his performance on the field. Specifically, he wants to make it to the Pro Bowl and thinks he's playing at a level worthy of that distinction this season.

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