McKinnie: Ravens say I'll play left tackle

The big question surrounding the Ravens' decision to sign offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie - I'll spare everyone yet another play on words with the word "big" - is whether the former Viking will play left or right tackle once he's ready to suit up in Baltimore.

McKinnie has played left tackle, and played it at a pretty high level, throughout his entire nine-year career. But leading up to this season, the Ravens said publically that they're committed to sticking with former first-round pick Michael Oher at the left tackle spot.

Well, according to McKinnie, Oher will be moving over to right tackle, where he played during his rookie season in 2009, and the newest Raven will take over on the left side.

"Yeah, they told me I'm going to play left, and I guess slide Oher over to right," McKinnie said on ESPN Radio's "The Brian Kenny Show".

If true, that alignment might give the Ravens the best chance to succeed in the short-term. Oher had a strong rookie season at right tackle, but hasn't carried that level of play over to the left tackle spot in his year-plus at that position.

If McKinnie can lock down Joe Flacco's blind side (there's a joke in there somewhere), Oher can get back to his 2009 form at right tackle and Marshal Yanda can return to right guard, the Ravens have the makings of a quality offensive line.

Bryant_McKinnie-sidebar-Vikings2.jpgBut McKinnie will turn 32 in less than a month, and isn't in the Ravens' long-term plans. Moving Oher back to right tackle could shake the confidence of a guy who those in the organization viewed as a rising star just a year and a half ago.

The other question everyone is asking about McKinnie is: What type of shape is he in?

Cut by Minnesota after allegedly reporting to camp close to 400 lbs., McKinnie acknowledged he showed up above his normal playing weight, but said he's been training in Florida the last few weeks and is ready to go.

"Well, honestly, we never took any conditioning tests in the two days I was (at Vikings camp)," McKinnie said. "We had two walk-throughs, so I wasn't really able to do anything. I never participated in any, ... there was never any conditioning test, so there was nothing to kind of determine where my conditioning was. But, I did come in heavy. I did come in heavier than I normally am.

"I feel like I've been in shape the whole time. But I was out here training the whole time. I'm pretty ready to go."

The Ravens will put McKinnie through a physical today, and if he passes, his two-year contract worth up to $7.5 million will become official.

McKinnie indicated that he thought he was let go by the Vikings more for monetary reasons than physical ones. The Miami product did acknowledge that he does have high cholesterol, but said that was something the Vikings were aware of.

The Vikings reportedly saved $5.4 million against the salary cap by cutting McKinnie, and avoided paying him workout and roster bonuses by letting him go.

"Minnesota, it was honestly more of a numbers game about having their salary cap at a certain point," McKinnie said. "That's what it was really about, restructuring my contract, stuff like that. And I didn't really agree with it, so we chose for me to be released."

blog comments powered by Disqus