Sometimes people hold a grudge.
In a big, big way.
It would appear Seattle just can't over losing Steve Hutchinson. In the end, losing Hutch was the Seahawks' own fault, but, for whatever reason, Seattle has reveled in picking up former Vikings – all of whom became former Vikings by Minnesota's choice.
On Thursday, Kevin Williams became the latest Viking to go to Washington when he agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract, but he's far from the first.
Vikings moving west toward the North Pacific has occurred as frequently as Sasquatch sightings. Longtime Viking Update Grand Poobah Bob "Big Foot" Lurtsema was one of the first. Carl Eller soon followed.
But it wasn't until the term "poison pill" got introduced into the lexicon of the NFL – a deft seldom-seen chess move imposed by the Vikings that perked the ears of everyone involved in signing contracts – that the westward flow really increased. For those unfamiliar with the term, the Seahawks disrespected Hutchinson by not giving him the franchise tag, but rather the transitional tag, which would allow the Seahawks to match any offer that Hutchinson received.
Seattle had just signed offensive tackle Walter Jones to a huge contract. The Vikings placed in the Hutch deal a caveat that, if Hutchinson wasn't the highest paid offensive linemen on the team in two years, his entire contract would be guaranteed. Left tackle Bryant McKinnie was already under contract and wasn't going to be making more than Hutchinson. Jones was going to be making more.
It put Seattle in a box that couldn't be matched in organizational good conscience. It would guarantee the entirety of a seven-year, $49 million contract. They couldn't do it. Eating the poison results in suicide.
That's what got it started. Since then, the Starbucks Vendetta has been a little rough.
Nate Burleson – The Seahawks poison-pilled his deal so if he played more than five games in Minnesota his first season, his entire contract was guaranteed. The Vikings freely let him go. Seattle regretted it.
Sidney Rice – Rice decided to have optional surgery the day after Brett Favre signed for his second run with the Vikings and it doomed the season. The Vikings were interested in re-signing him, but not with $18.5 million guaranteed. Seattle gave him that. The Seahawks regretted it.
Tarvaris Jackson – When Jackson, who technically was still under contract with the Vikings until the lockout ended, saw Christian Ponder holding up a No. 7 jersey, the handwriting was on the wall. As he did in Minnesota, T-Jack wasn't embarrassing as a starter, but was ripe for being replaced.
Percy Harvin – Disgruntled and valuable, the Vikings worked out a multi-draft pick trade to get Harvin for his highest open-market value. Willing buyer. Willing seller.
Antoine Winfield – The Vikings wanted Winfield back, but they weren't willing to pay top dollar. Seattle signed him. He was among their final cuts and he never played in NFL again.
Kevin Williams is the sixth former Vikings starter who has joined Seattle since the poison pill was slipped in their café latte, and that list doesn't include special teams ace Heath Farwell or offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Hopefully, Williams will get the opportunity to contribute to Seattle's quest to repeat as champs. It's easy to root for quality people, but the post-poison pill era doesn't speak well to the chances of being optimistic.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Williams joins Seattle's slew of former Vikes
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