Vikings ax Bryant McKinnie following weight gain: Fan’s reaction

Obesity is a national epidemic, and it affects every race, sex, class and profession. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings saw the impact of weight gain firsthand, as offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie(notes) was cut from the team. McKinnie, once valued for his size, was released after gaining 65 pounds. The offensive lineman weighed in at nearly 400 pounds upon his arrival to the Vikings training camp. He was immediately placed on a non-athletic injury list and later released after refusing a pay cut.

The Vikings wouldn't necessarily be justified in releasing Bryant McKinnie so soon if the problem was weight alone. Vikings management took McKinnie's long history of scandal into account when making the decision. This includes the athlete holding a front and center position in the infamous Love Boat scandal, getting into street fights in Miami, and blowing off the Pro Bowl to spend time with strippers.

Despite the terrible publicity he garnered, the Vikings could afford to keep Bryant McKinnie while he was on top of his game. He had always been in the gray area when it came to size, but he managed to keep his weight low enough to remain an effective lineman. The added pounds appear to have put a damper on his athletic ability. You can't blame the Vikings management for not wanting to keep a player who has attracted so much negative attention and is now not physically fit enough for intense practices and games.

McKinnie's recent departure from the team suggests that the Vikings management is finally getting down to brass tax. Coach Leslie Frazier is serious about putting together a team that is capable of staging an impressive comeback. This makes a nice alternative to the notorious pandering of former coach Brad Childress.

As far as the football career of Bryant McKinnie, the future is rather murky. McKinnie has hired a trainer and plans to get back into shape before returning for the 2012 season. Unless his conduct (and size) change drastically, I think he'll also need to take a significant pay cut in order to score a contract with another team. Until then, goodbye and good riddance.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Stephanie Gustafson has remained faithful to the Minnesota Vikings through their many ups and downs.

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Updated Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011