Hutchinson Next?

After a flurry of early signings by the Vikings, the team looks prepared to lure an All-Pro to the team...or at least make him an offer the Seahawks may want to refuse.

The new-look Vikings, as expected, opened free agency with the same swiftness in which they fired Mike Tice and his assistant coaches and filled the open positions within days of the new regime becoming available to speak with.

The Vikings re-signed WR Koren Robinson, as well as inking free agent kicker Ryan Longwell, LB Ben Leber and RB Chester Taylor in a 24-hour period. The next stop may take a little longer.

Seahawks All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson arrived in Minneapolis Saturday night and is expected to meet with team officials Sunday. If the progress of their talks are as productive of those of the three Saturday signees, it wouldn't be surprising to hear an announcement of an agreement Sunday afternoon.

However, there is one caveat. Hutchinson was slapped with the transitional free agent tag by Seattle. Unlike a franchise tag, which requires two first-round draft picks as compensation, the transition tag doesn't get draft compensation, but it does gives the player's current team seven days to match an offer. Unless the Seahawks come out publicly and say they won't match an offer, they would have until next Sunday to make a decision.

However, if the Vikings move as quickly with Hutchinson as they have built a fledgling M.O. of doing with other free agents, the Seahawks could be on the clock sooner than later.

* There was some speculation that the Vikings would take a run at Panthers LB Will Witherspoon, but it sounds like he will have a deal done as early as today. He met with the Rams Saturday and has a meeting scheduled with the Saints today.
* A pair of safeties are expected to visit the Vikings in the next few days -- Dexter Jackson, who played with defensive coordinator with the Buccaneers, and Will Demps of the Ravens.
* The figures for the four Vikings signings are out. Robinson got a deal that is three years for $12.7 million, with $5.5 million of that guaranteed. There are several clauses in the contract that would protect the Vikings if K-Rob has anymore substance-related problems. Leber got the biggest deal -- five years, $20 million with a $4 million signing bonus. Taylor's deal is four years for $14 million, with $5.6 million of that guaranteed. The Vikings won a bidding war for Longwell by offering five years for $10 million, with $3 million of that in the form of a signing bonus.
* The Vikings lost of a couple of players Saturday to contracts it is extremely unlikely the team would have matched. Mike Tice must have had some sway on how good Brian Williams is because the Jags gave him six years for $34 million with a whopping $10 million signing bonus. Chavous, whom the Vikings coaches believed had lost a step and was in risk of losing his starting job even if he came back, signed a five-year deal with the Rams worth up to $16 million -- with $4 million up front. Their agents earned their money and did a great selling job.
* The word coming out of Washington D.C. is the Vikings are looking to put the old Redskins band back together. With Daunte Culpepper almost certainly out of the plans, two names that have surfaced as candidates to back up Brad Johnson are Gus Frerotte and Patrick Ramsey. All three of those quarterbacks once played for the Redskins and the pick the Vikings got when they traded Johnson to Washington was used to select Culpepper.

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