Notebook: Best vet, new rookie and more

Steve Hutchinson was named the top player at his position and rookie cornerback Asher Allen was given a strong vote of confidence by a media member following his career at Georgia. Plus, Sidney Rice and others are using blogs and Twitter to register their opinions on everything from health issues to the potential of the team to Brett Favre updates. Get it all inside.

The Sporting News has been ranking the top 20 NFL players at each position and gave Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson the top honor at his position.

"Hutch is the industry standard for guards. He's a dominant run blocker who can overwhelm defenders in tight quarters, but he also has the athleticism to pull outside and lead the run off the edge," said the analysis for Hutchinson. "He's the total package. Adrian Peterson gets all the credit, but the Vikings' run game starts and ends with their big left guard."

Hutchinson's fellow guard, Anthony Herrera, and former Vikings center Matt Birk combine to form a three-man interior offensive line that played every offensive snap for the team last year, according to a league source. They were the only Vikings to do that.


Dean Legge, the publisher of's University of Georgia site,, had high praise for the Vikings' third-round draft choice, cornerback Asher Allen. "I actually went to the same high school Asher Allen went to, and his coaches thought very highly of him – character will only be an asset for Asher," Legge wrote in an e-mail to Viking Update. "The Vikings are getting a late first- or second-round guy in the 2010 Draft a year early. No one seems clear on the reason why Allen left Georgia a year early when it seemed he would head higher on the board next year."

Although Vikings director of college scouting Scott Studwell said the Vikings run far more than the Tampa-2 defense they are often associated with, Allen is believed to be a versatile defensive back that can fit the Tampa-2.

"Tampa-2 is pretty much what Georgia runs, so that's something Allen will be used to. He is not afraid of making a tackle – in fact, he's a rather physical corner," Legge wrote. "He may be short, but what's new about that at corner? Not much at Georgia. He performed well in Georgia's scheme, and was a standout on special teams where he was a gunner and kickoff return man.

"The Vikings are getting tremendous value for a guy who may well become a starter after a season or two up north."

If Antoine Winfield's contract doesn't get extended, that becomes more of a distinct possibility.


Vikings receiver Sidney Rice, who has spent his first two seasons in the league battling various lower-body injuries, has taken a cue from former Vikings safety Darren Sharper. Sharper found that one of the best ways to keep his aging body in top shape was the use of a hyperbaric chamber.

Sharper even brought his chamber to training camp in Mankato. Now Rice has one.

"One thing that helps me recover after a tough game or practice is a hyperbaric chamber. I have one in my house," Rice wrote on his personal blog. "I love it. I got it last year when I strained my quad. I was trying not to miss any practice time. I fell asleep in it and the injury went right away. … Sometimes I sleep in there for the whole night."

Sharper used to do that during training camp. Rice wrote that the $22,000 investment was worth the price.

"Your body is a temple and I'm going to try to keep it as healthy as possible," he wrote. "I have to do all the small things to stay healthy, do whatever it takes. There's nothing worse than sitting on the sidelines watching your teammates compete and you can't do anything to help them."


Agent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian, thinks the Vikings would be unstoppable if they signed Brett Favre. Rosenhaus made that declaration via Twitter, a social networking Web site. "Look for Bernard Berrian to explode next season if the Vikings sign Favre. They will be unstoppable! BB can run deep & BF can throw it deep," Rosenhaus wrote.

Rosenhaus also expects Rice, another one of his clients, to have a big year. "Despite drafting a WR, I expect the Vikings to take better advantage of Sidney Rice's talent this season. Rice is ready to step up in 09," Rosenhaus wrote.

Former Vikings and Packers safety Darren Sharper wrote on his Twitter account Monday that he talked to Brett Favre. "Decision is still undecided," he wrote, before adding this: "Tell (ESPN's) Rachel Nichols to call me."

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