Steve Hutchinson, the Vikings' player representative for the NFLPA, said the league's idea of adding two regular-season game isn't as simple as people are making it. Negotiation and compromise will have to be part of the bargaining game. Plus, many more notes from the Friday morning practice.
is many things for the Vikings. Among them is the team's player representative for the players union. After Friday morning's practice, Hutchinson addressed the proposed change in the NFL schedule that would move the regular season from 16 games to 18 games.
While it sounds easy enough – clearly most fans are in favor of anything that gets rid of two preseason games and adds two more "real" games – Hutchinson said is isn't that simple.
"If they (the owners) want to play an 18-game season, that's fine," Hutchinson said. "But you can't just add two games. You can make the argument that, in our case, it's two games that you're tacking on to the end of the season, where you are beat up enough anyway."
Hutchinson said that adding two more regular-season games would have to result in changes being made to the pay that players would get – "everything goes up by one-eighth," he said. It will be a chip both sides address during the collective bargaining process, but he added that it may not be the slam dunk so many believe it might be.
"There's going to have to be compensation for two extra games," Hutchinson said. "It's one of the things on the table with the CBA talks. They're going to have to figure something out. It's not as easy as just cutting out two preseason games and adding two regular-season games. That's really not how it works."
While all signs point to the regular season being increased to 18 games, he said that it isn't guaranteed and that negotiation will have to take place. He expects it will happen, but both sides will have to do their due diligence to get it accomplished.
"I don't know if it's inevitable, but it is something that will be bargained," Hutchinson said. "Obviously, the owners want it. They're putting it on the table and it's something they're pushing for. That's something that will be collectively bargained. I don't think we're opposed to it, if it's gone about the right way."
FRIDAY MORNING PRACTICE NOTES
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier called the practice "spirited" Friday, as contact was considerably more than in previous practices.
Several Vikings didn't take part in practice, including Cedric Griffin and Sidney Rice, both of whom remain on the physically-unable-to-perform list, Percy Harvin, who is still tending to the death of his grandmother, Darius Reynaud, Benny Sapp, John Sullivan and J Leman.
Adrian Peterson returned to practice after a five-day absence. His left thigh was wrapped as he practiced. He took part in passing drills, but didn't take reps in the 11-on-11 practice reps.
Frazier had high praise for Letroy Guion, saying he "doesn't look like the same player." He said many players make a jump in their third season, but said Guion has made significant strides and looks extremely impressive.
Wide receivers Jaymar Johnson, Taye Biddle and Ray Small handled kick return duties with Harvin missing in practice.
All four scheduled starters in the secondary – Antoine Winfield, Lito Sheppard, Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson – took turns working in the kickoff coverage team.
NFL officials were on hand for the practice for the second consecutive day. Rice and Sapp spent about 10 minutes talking to one official, with Rice demonstrating a swim move to beat jam coverage and getting the official's interpretation of what he can and can't do at the line.
Special teams coordinator Brian Murphy did some one-on-one work with Sheppard about his responsibilities in kickoff coverage.
Jamarca Sanford showed off his strength during blocking sled drills. The defensive backs were supposed to simulate face-up contact with a ball carrier and Sanford consistently moved the entire sled when he made contact – the only DB to do that.
Sullivan is no longer wearing a protective wrap on injured right calf and it appeared as though there is a rash on the area, which was bright red.
Greg Lewis made his own fashion statement Friday. While everyone else was wearing shorts, Lewis wore long black sweat pants, which didn't look overly comfortable by the end of practice.
With both Rice and Harvin out, Bernard Berrian and Lewis lined up with the first-team offense during 11-on-11 drills.
During defensive running drills, Frazier served as the quarterback – the dream of every defensive coordinator. His barking snap count got at least one player to jump.
Ryan Longwell was a perfect 9 of 9 on field goal attempts during the practice.
Toby Gerhart showed a little tenacity, lowering his shoulder on Sanford as the two made contact on a sweep play.
Chris Cook had another solid practice, breaking up a pair of long passing attempts, including staying step-for-step with Berrian on a long bomb.
Winfield jumped a Tarvaris Jackson pass in 7-on-7 drills and returned it for a score.
CB Marcus Sherels had a big practice, picking off a pair of passes and getting himself noticed.
Former Viking Greg Coleman was on hand to watch the practice. Coleman, a former Vikings punter is now the game-day sideline reporter for KFAN-AM Radio, the Vikings flagship station.
The Vikings continue to be a big draw at Minnesota State, Mankato. The crowd for the morning practice not only filled both bleachers, but fans ringed around the field for its entire length and around past the south goal post.
The team will have a special teams practice this afternoon starting at 2:15 p.m.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.