McKinley earns free agent contract with Vikings

Published 9:42 am Monday, May 17, 2010

Former Northview Chiefs star Cedric McKinley signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings. | Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Former Demopolis High School star Cedric McKinley is preparing to the next phase of his NFL dream as he readies to participate in organized team activities with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday.

McKinley, who spent two years at the junior college level before playing two seasons with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, found himself without a team when last month’s NFL Draft concluded. The next day, he received a call from the Vikings.

“They asked me if I would be interested in coming to the rookie mini camp,” McKinley said.

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McKinley, a 6-foot-6, 281-pound defensive lineman, was impressed with the talent around him at the three-day mini camp.

“I was a round a lot of great players,” McKinley said. “But I went out and did what I had to do. It basically really all came down to competing with other players.”

The camp ended on a Sunday afternoon, at which point McKinley said he liked his chances of getting another opportunity.

“They told me on Sunday after the last practice to make sure that I reported so I could get a physical,” McKinley said. When McKinley returned that Tuesday, there was a contract offer awaiting him.

“I felt good. I really felt good,” McKinley said.

In addition to jumping a major hurdle toward realizing his NFL goals, McKinley was excited about the location of his new team.

“I don’t have to go anywhere. I don’t have to pack anything. I just stay here,” McKinley said of a familiarity that he believes will make his transition quicker. “The people who are up here who care about me, it gives me an opportunity to be around them also.”

McKinley displayed some versatility in the rookie camp, playing both the three technique and defensive end spots. Still, he faces two other major obstacles in OTAs and training camp as he tries to earn a spot on a team that finished one play short of the Super Bowl.

“All I can really say is it is a really great opportunity to be a part of the team,” McKinley said.