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Randy Moss, Steve Hutchinson among Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists

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They are two of four first-time nominees

Green Bay Packers defenders Rod Smith (C) and Darr Photo credit should read CRAIG LASSIG/AFP/Getty Images

The fifteen finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame have been announced, and two players with very strong ties to the Minnesota Vikings are among the group.

Both wide receiver Randy Moss and offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson are two of the five first-time nominees to make the list of fifteen finalists for this year. The others are Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis and Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Everson Walls is also a first-time nominee, which is strange given that his career ended twenty years ago.

We all know the story about Moss, who was selected by the Vikings in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft after a ridiculous free fall. Moss was, quite simply, the most talented and physically gifted receiver of his generation, and is on the short list of the greatest receivers of all time. Because of his relationship with the media, and the fact that some media types seem to think this is the Pro Football Hall of Congeniality rather than the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I am already looking forward to the excuses we’ll hear when he isn’t inducted this year.

Put it this way: If Randy Moss isn’t a first-ballot Hall of Famer, there shouldn’t be first-ballot Hall of Famers. Period.

Hutchinson also had a story we all know when it comes to his time with the Vikings. He started his career with the Seattle Seahawks, and was given the transition tag by the Seahawks in an effort to keep him in Seattle. The Vikings, however, signed him to a deal with a “poison pill” in it that kept the Seahawks from matching the offer sheet Minnesota gave him. (You can read the whole story right here.) Hutchinson played for Minnesota for six seasons, and was a three-time first-team All-Pro during his time in Minnesota (2007, 2008, and 2009).

You can see the complete list of finalists at NFL.com. The final voting will take place on 3 February, the Saturday prior to the last game of the season in Minneapolis.

Best of luck to Randy Moss and Steve Hutchinson on their quest to get into Canton.