Dec 18, 2011; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson (76) against the New Orleans Saints at the Metrodome. The Saints defeated the Vikings 42-20. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Rebuilding the Vikings: Steve Hutchinson Gone?

Steve Hutchinson’s run as a Viking may very well be on the verge of ending. With the Vikes looking to cut salary and get younger, old, expensive players like Hutch are marked men. And Hutch, for his part, seems resigned to this reality. When asked about his future with the team Hutch said, “I know what the cap situation is and all that, but it’s out of my control.”

Not only is Hutch old and pricey, but there are questions about his durability too. After years of being more invincible than Iron Man, Hutch has suffered through two straight injury-plagued seasons. In 2010 he battled back injuries before finally being sidelined with a broken thumb, and in 2011 he landed on IR after suffering a concussion. All those years of opening holes for running backs are finally taking their toll on the former Pro Bowler.

There’s still a chance the Vikings could ask Hutch to redo his contract and stay, but realistically, I don’t think that will happen. Knowing his time is limited, Hutch would likely prefer a chance to sign with a non-rebuilding team over staying with the Vikes for less money and a bench role. When Hutch leaves, last year’s starting left tackle Charlie Johnson becomes the prime candidate to take over at left guard. Johnson is probably only marginally better than Hutch at this point but he is younger and cheaper and hasn’t been hurt. And that’s how it goes.

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