'Hawks Hard-Pressed to Match for Hutch

The Vikings may have known what they were up against when they offered Steve Hutchinson his record-setting offer sheet.

The Vikings knew what they were doing when they made their seven-year, $49 million offer to guard Steve Hutchinson. They, in effect, asked the Seahawks to justify their own love for Hutch.

The offer sheet, which includes a whopping $16 million in guaranteed money, leaves the Seahawks behind a big rock. In the past 12 months, Seattle has given out $20 million in bonus money to keep offensive tackle Walter Jones, $16 million for QB Matt Hasselbeck and $15 million for RB Shaun Alexander. Can they afford another big hit? Many believe not.

The early word out of Seattle is that the Seahawks want to match the offer, but may not have the ability to do so. With a few defensive needs to be addressed, although the Seahawks had a good cap situation a week ago, the combination of re-signing Alexander and matching Hutchinson would all but deplete their free agency war chest. In short, they will have to show a lot of love for Hutchinson, or he will be joining Bryant McKinnie and Matt Birk in giving the Vikings one of the best left sides of an offensive line in the NFL.

* Having addressed needs at RB, LB, the O-line and kicker already in free agency, the Vikings will entertain a pair of safeties over the next 24 hours -- Will Demps of the Ravens and Dexter Jackson of the Buccaneers.
* The Vikings stayed out of the bidding for Edgerrin James and saved a lot of money in the process. Coach Brad Childress said he expects Chester Taylor to be a "20-30 touch-a-game" runner, as do the Cardinals for signing Edge. The difference? Both signed four-year contracts. The Vikings will pay Taylor $14.4 million, while Denny Green will pay James $30 million.

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