Hutch Hangs ‘Em Up

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 13, 2013 – 6:26 am


As NFL players continue to use free agency as a vehicle to extend their careers with new teams this week, we take a respite from the frenzy to acknowledge a decorated player who has chosen to end his career this week.

Former Vikings offensive guard Steve Hutchinson has decided to retire after 12 illustrious seasons in the NFL, and he used Twitter to make his decision public.

“Retiring today after a great run in the NFL. Want to thank the @Seahawks, @Vikings, @TennesseeTitans and their fans for the opportunity,” Hutchinson tweeted. He later added: “I appreciate all the love. It’s all of you fans that make this the greatest sport in the world.”

After an All-America career at the University of Michigan, Hutchinson was drafted with a 1st-round (#17 overall) pick by Seattle in 2001. He played there through the 2005 season and then signed a free agent contract with the Vikings before the 2006 season. He played with the Vikings from 2006-11 and then played one season in Tennessee.

While with the Vikings, Hutchinson blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher each season and helping guide the club to a pair of division titles and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game after the 2009 season. While with the Vikings, Hutchinson was a 4-time All-Pro and a 4-time Pro Bowler. He was also named to the 50 Greatest Vikings team and was #3 on our list of the Top 10 Free Agent Signings in Vikings History.

In total, Hutchinson was a 7-time All-Pro and 7-time Pro Bowler and was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. He will be a candidate to one day join the NFL’s immortals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Aside from being a dominant blocker on the field, Hutchinson made a profound impact in the community, too. He is a regular visitor at children’s hospitals, and he worked diligently with his wife, Landyn, to make the holidays a special team for patients and their families at Minneapolis children’s hospitals.

Congratulations to Steve on a successful NFL career, and we wish you nothing but the best in your years of retirement.

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Who’s In, Who’s Out? Vikings Busy On First Day Of League Year

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 13, 2013 – 5:42 am

The first day of the New League Year did not disappoint. It was a hectic day full of signings, reports of signings, cuts, trades and roster shuffling. The Vikings were in on the mix for much of it. Here’s a rundown of what the Vikings accomplished on Tuesday, with another busy day possibly in store for the organization on Wednesday…

– The Percy Harvin trade was finalized. After 4 seasons of receptions, returns and runs for the Vikings, Harvin was shipped to Seattle in exchange for a 1st-round pick and a 7th-round pick in April’s draft plus a 3rd-round pick in the 2013 NFL. That’s a nice haul for the Vikings, who now have 11 selections in this year’s draft and will have a pair of 1st-round picks in back-to-back seasons (Matt Kalil-Harrison Smith in 2012, #23 and #25 overall in 2013).

– Phil Loadholt re-signed with the Vikings and is looking to “finish what we started in Minnesota.” Securing Loadholt allows the Vikings to carry continuity along the offensive line into the 2013 season, as all 5 starters from last year will return in 2013. The average age of the 5 starters is just 25.8 years old.

– While investing in youth by securing three more draft choices and re-signing Loadholt, the Vikings parted (for now) with 15-year veteran CB Antoine Winfield. It was a hard decision, said Vikings GM Rick Spielman, but one the team made with the best interest of the team in mind. Spielman did not rule out a return for Winfield to the roster.

– Spielman was asked about a report that the team and TE John Carlson restructured the contract they agreed to a year ago, but the Vikings GM declined to get into specifics of the restructurings.

– Pro Bowl FB Jerome Felton, LB Erin Henderson, special teams ace and safety Jamarca Sanford, and WR Jerome Simpson all used Twitter to announce that they’ve reached deals to remain with the Vikings. Reports also surfaced on Tuesday that OL Joe Berger re-signed with the Vikings. No official word yet from the club, but this is good news given how much of a priority Spielman and the Vikings front office put on re-signing their own free agents.

– Spielman described the Vikings as being “in good shape” from a salary cap standpoint even after reportedly re-signing 6 of their own free agents, including what figures to be a significant multi-year deal for the road-grading Loadholt. Great work by the Vikings front office.

– Agree with him or disagree (I agree with him), Spielman is steadfast in his opinion of how to best build a roster that can sustain long-term success – through the draft and by retention of core players. Free agency has a place, no question, but it’s a limited place. This quote from Spielman during his press conference on Tuesday sums up the philosophy well: “Well we think we’re going to compete next year, there’s no doubt about that because we were a playoff team last year. By keeping your own and continuing to build through the draft and the success we’ve had the last couple of years with this draft and feel very strong about this draft class coming up, that that’s the approach and philosophy that we believed in and it’s showing that we are having success with that philosophy.”

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