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Vikings And Seahawks: It's Complicated

Otto Greule Jr

The two teams that will meet at Qwest CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon don't seem like they're generally all that connected. But over the course of the last several years, they've started to get a little more closely connected. Naturally, this all started with the "poison pill" battle back in 2006. For those of you that are just joining us, here's what happened.

In 2006, the Seattle Seahawks put a "transition tag" on guard Steve Hutchinson. Hutchinson signed an offer sheet with the Minnesota Vikings, and the Seahawks wanted to match it, but there was a catch. The Vikings included a clause in the contract that said if a point came where Hutchinson wasn't the highest-paid offensive lineman on the team, his entire contract would immediately become guaranteed. The Seahawks had just signed all-time great tackle Walter Jones to a big contract extension. . .one that paid him more than what Hutchinson would have received. That meant that, had the Seahawks matched Minnesota's offer, every penny of Hutchinson's seven-year, $49 million deal would be guaranteed.

So, Seattle didn't match, and they were most unhappy about what Minnesota had done. In response, they offered a similar seven-year, $49 million contract to Vikings' restricted free agent wide receiver Nate Burleson. In the offer sheet the Seahawks gave Burleson, there was a clause that said that Burleson's entire contract would become guaranteed if he played more than five games a year in the state of Minnesota. Obviously the Vikings couldn't match that, so Burleson wound up with Seattle. Of course, because he was a restricted free agent, the Seahawks had to send the Vikings a third-round draft choice for their role in this chicanery. (That's not to say that the Vikings weren't guilty of a significant amount of chicanery, too. . .they most certainly were.) And, yes, I still think Vikings fans would trade Nate Burleson for Steve Hutchinson and a third-round draft choice every time, given the opportunity.

Later in that season, in the Vikings' 31-13 victory over the Seahawks in Seattle, Seahawks' quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was injured on a hit by linebacker E.J. Henderson. Hasselbeck was pretty angry about the entire thing because he thought the hit was low and/or late. I'm not sure that it was, but again. . .I'm sort of biased one direction here.

Oh, and just before the start of that 2006 season, the Vikings signed a punter that had gone undrafted and spent training camp with the Seahawks, but was cut in favor of Leo Araguz. His name is Chris Kluwe. . .he's been in the news a little bit recently.

In the past couple of seasons, there has been a bit of a migration from Minnesota to Seattle. After the 2010 season, former Vikings players Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice, along with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, made their way to the Pacific Northwest to join up with Pete Carroll and company. Jackson has since departed for Buffalo, but Rice and Bevell are still there, and so is former Vikings' special teams ace Heath Farwell.

The Vikings and Seahawks haven't met on the field since 2009, when the Vikings throttled the Seahawks 35-9 at the Metrodome. But it seems like one of those things where the teams are more closely connected than it would appear at first blush. It seems that way to me, anyway.