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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Hutchinson: Back to football

    Posted on Sun, Apr. 09, 2006

    [size=18px]BACK TO FOOTBALL[/size]

    The all-pro guard is glad to get back on the field after leaving Seattle to sign with the Vikings and he said he doesn't feel any pressure to live up to his hefty price tag.

    BY DON SEEHOLZER
    Pioneer Press


    Between offer sheets and poison pills, Steve Hutchinson has received more media attention over the past four weeks than he did during his first five NFL seasons in Seattle, but he's ready to put all that behind him.

    With the Vikings in the midst of a three-day veteran minicamp, the all-pro guard is free once again to concentrate on football, which is just the way he likes it.

    "This is the best way to do it," he said. "Up until now, everything was about me being new, the poison pill and the contract and what the league wants to do to amend the rule or whatever. Now it's back to football. It's back to putting on a helmet and being able to play. You kind of can put that behind you, so that's a good sign."

    The Vikings' seven-year, $49 million offer sheet to Hutchinson thrust him into the national spotlight, and the poison-pill clause that would have forced the Seahawks to guarantee the full contract had they matched is likely to result in some changes to the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.

    Hutchinson, for his part, said he's just glad it's over.

    "For an offensive guard, you're not really a household name," he said. "I guess pretty soon they're going to have a rule named after me for the CBA so I'm sure a lot of people who wouldn't know me before are going to know me now."

    Hutchinson's new teammates are just getting to know him, but they already like what they see.

    "He's as good as there is," center Matt Birk said. "Just from the little bit I know about him from some Pro Bowls and around the league, he's a quality guy, too. When people were asking me about the deal he signed, I said if anybody's worth that kind of money, he is. In my opinion, he's that good."

    Hutchinson will line up at left guard, between Birk and tackle Bryant McKinnie, who is happy to have the three-time Pro Bowl selection on board.

    "That will make our line a lot better, especially having Birk back," McKinnie said. "Having (Hutchinson) next to me is going to make me a lot better."

    The Vikings are much less experienced and formidable on the right side of the line, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said they won't be running a Left Coast offense.

    "We're very happy with the left side," he said. "I think those guys are three great players. Whether it's the best combination in the league, they haven't played together yet, so we'll reserve our comments on that until we've seen them play together."

    Wide receiver Koren Robinson, who spent four seasons with Hutchinson in Seattle, said the Vikings couldn't have made a better investment.

    "Great pickup, great guy, great team player," Robinson said. "He's a great human being, a great acquisition to the team and our offensive line. He's a quiet guy, but once you get around him and get to know him, you see he jokes a little bit. Most of the time, he just goes about his business."

    In addition to possibly redefining the rules for transition free agents, Hutchinson made history with his contract, which is the highest ever awarded to a guard.

    In the NFL, $7 million a year is starting quarterback money, but Hutchinson said he doesn't feel any added pressure to live up to his hefty price tag.

    "I don't think there's anybody that can put any more pressure on me than myself," he said. "That's the way I was taught to play the game is play it at a high level and compete to your best every play."

    At 6-foot-5 and 313 pounds, Hutchinson is expected to provide an immediate upgrade to the Vikings' offensive line, but he can't really show what he can do during these minicamp practices, with players in helmets but no pads.

    "Minicamps are always called underwear football, where you're just kind of running around, getting fits and trying to get in the right place," he said. "You really can't finish a guy or drive him or anything like that, so it's a little different than training camp."

    Except for a couple of assistant coaches, Hutchinson said he hasn't heard from anyone in the Seahawks' front office since shortly after they put the transition tag on him, but he has nothing bad to say about his former team.

    If there are any scores that need settling, he will have a chance to do so on Oct. 22, when the Vikings travel to Seattle for what could be one of the most compelling games of the regular season.

    At the moment, Hutchinson is happy just to be focusing on football again instead of sitting in the center ring of a media circus.

    "To be honest with you, at times I didn't really know what was going on," he said. "I almost like was sitting back and reading the Internet and reading what you guys were reporting. I was almost like a third party in the deal anyway."

    Don Seeholzer can be reached at [email protected]

    BACK TO FOOTBALL

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    Benet's Avatar
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    Re: Hutchinson: Back to football

    He's making the right noises.. Can't wait to see him in a full-pads practice!

  3. #3
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    Re: Hutchinson: Back to football

    This guy will be a beast for us. Pairing him up on that left side with MT. McKinney, and Birk, that is awesome.. IMO, we have vastly improved on every aspect of the team since the last game against Chicago. I can't wait for the season again. I am looking at it this way, we ended our season on Jan, 1. Right after the draft is over it will be May, 1. That is 4 months from our last game until the draft is over. From May, 1 when the draft is over to Sept when the season starts again, that is also 4 mos. This past 4 mos went very quickly, I am sure the next will as well, and it will be time for Vikings football once again.

  4. #4
    nephilimstorm's Avatar
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    Re: Hutchinson: Back to football

    "VikesfaninWis" wrote:
    This guy will be a beast for us. Pairing him up on that left side with MT. McKinney, and Birk, that is awesome.. IMO, we have vastly improved on every aspect of the team since the last game against Chicago. I can't wait for the season again. I am looking at it this way, we ended our season on Jan, 1. Right after the draft is over it will be May, 1. That is 4 months from our last game until the draft is over. From May, 1 when the draft is over to Sept when the season starts again, that is also 4 mos. This past 4 mos went very quickly, I am sure the next will as well, and it will be time for Vikings football once again.
    This is gonna be one great O-linemen for the vikings

  5. #5
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Hutchinson: Back to football

    "He's as good as there is," center Matt Birk said. "Just from the little bit I know about him from some Pro Bowls and around the league, he's a quality guy, too. When people were asking me about the deal he signed, I said if anybody's worth that kind of money, he is. In my opinion, he's that good."

    "Great pickup, great guy, great team player," Robinson said. "He's a great human being, a great acquisition to the team and our offensive line. He's a quiet guy, but once you get around him and get to know him, you see he jokes a little bit. Most of the time, he just goes about his business."
    That pretty much sums it up as well as anyone can put it.

    I can't wait for August 14th. 128 days & counting.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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