Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


McKinnie discusses benching and being 'out of whack'

Posted by: under On the road, Vikings, Brad Childress, Darrell Bevell, Vikings offense, Vikings players, Brad Childress, Bryant McKinnie, Darrell Bevell Updated: December 23, 2009 - 5:43 PM

Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie talked about his rough performance against Carolina after practice on Wednesday.

McKinnie gave up two sacks, was called for two penalties (false start and holding) and a difficult time blocking Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers. The coaching staff finally benched McKinnie in the third quarter, replacing him with veteran Artis Hicks.
 
“When I watched the film, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, as far as going against Peppers,” McKinnie said. “I felt like people probably made it seem like more than what it was. When I finally saw the film, I saw that he got a sack. And I think what threw me out of my game is that when I tried to jump the snap count one time and the ball didn’t get snapped and I got a false start. And then they called me for holding, so it took me away from something else that I normally do, something that I tend to do when I’m pass setting.
 
“But other than that, it was OK. It wasn’t my best game, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. They made it seem like he was back there every play and that wasn’t the case. But I definitely need a better game this week. It looked like I got out of whack with my techniques. I’ve been focusing a little more on my technique.”
 
McKinnie admitted that the penalties affected his play. He was asked if it was a good thing that he was taken out of the game.
 
“I think I would have rather stayed because it wasn’t really much of a difference,” he said. “I would have probably preferred to stay, I guess. I think they just thought that mentally I was a little confused, like I didn’t know what was going on actually. I was trying to figure out what I needed to do. When I watched the film, I had an idea during the game. The two penalties, it just makes you not as aggressive because you’re trying to eliminate some things to avoid penalties. It kind of took me out of my game plan.”
 
McKinnie said he’s talked to different coaches about the situation, including Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
 
“We basically just moved on,” he said. “Just to make sure that mentally, that’s not me mentally. Just because I had a bad game, don’t feel like I’m going to carry that with me. Put it in my rear view. I’m looking to prepare for the future. I’m not worried about that anymore because I can’t do nothing about it. I can’t bring it back.”
 
Childress acknowledged on Monday that the coaching staff should have given McKinnie more help on Peppers.
 
“Usually on the road, no matter who the tackle is and if you have a premier pass rusher, they usually get help,” he said. “I didn’t get any, but that’s not to blame. Still at the end of the day I’ve got to do what I have to do … You’ve got to be comfortable and I don’t think I was comfortable with a lot of stuff that I was doing. I feel like the penalties and stuff were kind of throwing me out of whack because then I started concentrating on not getting penalties. I was kind of behind sometimes on the snap count.”
 
McKinnie later admitted it was one of the roughest outings of his career.
 
“It’s up there in the top two,” he said. “I had another one about six years ago.”
 
“I have to be on point, basically,” he added. “Some people, when they come to play me, they don’t bring their A game. So I have to make sure I bring mine when go against a premier [pass rusher] and stay calm. I’m a relaxed player. I don’t get all excited and all that. I’m just like an even, level player. I have to stay that way during the course of a game. Once I get out of my box or whatever and start doing too much thinking then things are going to start going the wrong direction.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

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