Lost in the excitement of wide receiver Randy Moss getting elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in first-ballot style, we want to take a brief look at another player with strong Vikings’ ties that was not quite as fortunate.
Former Minnesota Vikings left guard Steve Hutchinson, who was eligible for induction for the first time this season, was not among those selected to be a part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
Hutchinson, who played 12 years in the NFL, spent half his career in Minnesota, from 2006-2011. In that time, he cemented himself as one of the best offensive linemen in team history, and the second best left guard in franchise history behind fellow Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel.
Hutch was one of the key free agents brought in by head coach Brad Childress to turn around the franchise, and the Vikes went to great lengths to acquire Hutch’s services from Seattle, where he spent his first five years.
Seattle gave Hutchinson the transition tag as opposed to the franchise tag, which gave the Vikings an opening. When they offered Hutchinson a contract, the Seahawks could either match it, or let him go. Most people assumed that Seattle would probably match, and he would remain with the Seahawks.
But the Vikings played some dirty pool, although it was legal. They inserted a ‘poison pill’ clause, that stated Hutch had to be the highest paid offensive lineman on the team, or his 7 year, $49 million deal would become fully guaranteed. With Walter Jones already the highest paid lineman, the Seahawks let Hutch go, although they tried to nullify the poison pill clause with the NFL and failed.
Hutchinson was a mauler for the Vikings, playing lead blocker for Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson. While with the Vikings, a Minnesota running back rushed for over 1,200 yards in every season except 2011, when AP had 970 but was injured with four games left in the season.
He left after 2011 and finished his career with Tennessee in 2012. In his 12 seasons, he was named to the Pro Bowl seven times, was an AP First Team All Pro five times, three of them with the Vikings.
Hutchinson was clearly one of the best offensive linemen of his era, but with a very strong class being inducted in 2018, he just couldn’t quite break through on his first attempt. If I had to venture a guess, I would have a hard time believing that he won’t have a bust in Canton very soon.