Special Master Sides With Vikings

A special master assigned to the contentions between the Vikings and Seattle Seahawks has ruled in favor of the Vikings and the players association.

A special master assigned to determine whether the Vikings were allowed to put in several stipulations in the free agent contract offered to Steve Hutchinson has ruled in favor of the Vikings and the players association agreement that the contract is valid.

Attorney for the players association said Stephen Burbank sided with the union argument.

"Special master Stephen Burbank has determined that the additional language that the Seahawks proposed to include in the Steve Hutchinson contract would alter a principal term of the Vikings' offer sheet," the NFL wrote in a statement late Monday afternoon.

The Seahawks contended that the alteration of Walter Jones' contract would make Hutchinson the highest-player on the team's offensive line, but the ruling is said to require that the Seahawks meet the requirements that were in place at the time the offer sheet was signed March 12.

Sources out of Seattle are saying that the ruling will likely mean the offer sheet won't be matched and Hutchinson will become a Viking, but the Seahawks have not indicated one way or the other if a losing ruling would be a deal-breaker.

The Seahawks have until midnight Eastern time to determine whether they will match the offer or let Hutchinson become a Viking.

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