Opponent Opinions

Guard Steve Hutchinson was considered a big reason Seattle's Shaun Alexander was able to break the NFL touchdown record last season and the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl, but he left for Minnesota in the offseason as a transition free agent when the Vikings included the now-famous "poison pill" in their offer sheet. Hutchinson talked about his new team with members of the South Florida media.

Q: Can you talk about the offensive problems the Vikings have had in recent games?

Hutchinson: "We haven't been the most productive offense this year. I think a lot of it has to do with our red-zone play. We, really, most of the season hadn't had problems moving the ball between the 20s, but penalties and missed assignments and turnovers have killed us in the red zone, which kind of equal no points scored. What we're trying to do is concentrate on what we know we can fix. Obviously you can concentrate a little bit more, try to get less penalties, you want to stay out of the third-and-long situations. Missed assignments, which equate to sacks, stuff like that. And then the turnovers. We think we can obviously get a lot better, and hopefully that will show on the field by maybe sparking offensive production."

Q: What is been the problem as far as giving up a lot of sacks lately?

Hutchinson: "I know there's been missed assignments on the offensive line. Teams are starting to blitz us a little bit more because they see maybe on film that we're not able to pick it up. Obviously if you're not picking up blitzes, it's a copycat league, other teams are going to come and do it. So we're probably seeing a lot more pressure than we did early in the year, but that's no excuse. We're going to have to just shore it up."

Q: Is new coach Brad Childress' West Coast-style offense difficult to pick up?

Hutchinson: "For me, not at all. It's really quite similar to the offense that I came from in Seattle."

Q: Do you feel more pressure because of the big contract you signed to join the Vikings?

Hutchinson: "I don't think so. It's obviously been an emphasis point when talking about our offense and obviously the offensive line. We've got a bunch of guys that just try to go out, myself included, and work hard and do their job."

Q: Was it difficult to leave a team that went to the Super Bowl last season?

Hutchinson: "It's hard. You play with guys for five years, get to be pretty good friends, you get continuity. But it's the nature of this business. They decided to use the transition tag, which kind of opened the door for other teams to make offers. Obviously you sign the deal because it's in my best interest. But I was fortunate to come to a team with great guys, guys that I really enjoy playing with and being on the team with. In one sense, yeah, you're sad to leave a team you've been with. But in the other sense you're excited to come to a new one with a good foundation."

Q: How would you compare the impact of the Seahawks in Seattle as opposed to that of the Vikings in Minnesota?

Hutchinson: "The Vikings have a little bit more tradition here. The team's been around longer. I think with the historic rivalries between the Vikings-Packers, Packers-Bears, just the NFC North in general. I think the Midwest is probably a little bit more traditional when it comes to football. The Seahawks, having switched divisions after my rookie year going into the NFC, having kind of a newly founded rivalry with San Francisco and teams like that. Obviously when I was with them going to the playoffs the last couple years and the Super Bowl last year, it's picking up. People there are very passionate, in Seattle, as here. So it's very similar that way. I just think it's a little probably newer out in Seattle, as opposed to here."

Q: Does the name of Daunte Culpepper come up a lot in Minnesota these days?

Hutchinson: "His name's brought up. I think probably as much as you'd think to ask that question because there were some great players here in the past, Daunte being one of them, Moss being the other one. I just think since those players have moved on, the team is really kind of focused on the present. ... They're teammates that they enjoyed playing with, that had success with, and now they're moved on."

Q: Being that he was a backup before signing with the Vikings, are you surprised at all by the kind of season RB Chester Taylor is having?

Hutchinson: "He's a back that runs downhill, wants to fight for yards after contact. He ran hard and well in training camp, it's really not a surprise to us on the Vikings squad here. He's been our workhorse and our main offensive production provider."

Q: Do you traits in Taylor similar to those in Alexander?

Hutchinson: "I think Chester's a little bit more downhill, where Shaun's probably looking for the cut back and the big play. Shaun probably will break more, but Chester's going to take it in there and see what he can get. So two different styles, both very efficient and productive running backs."

Q: How would you compare the left tackle you played next to in Seattle, Walter Jones, to your current left tackle, former University of Miami standout Bryant McKinnie?

Hutchinson: "I would say Walt's obviously more experienced. Walt's probably not as big as Bryant McKinnie. He's probably a little bit more athletic as far as footwork goes, but Bryant's a mauler. He can move very, very exceptionally well for his size. I think when he gets this system down, some growing pains, I think he's going to be a force to be reckoned with for a long time."

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