Steve Hutchinson may still return to the Vikings, but it won’t happen unless Hutch is willing to restructure his current contract, which is set to pay him $7 million for 2012. Tom Pelissero tweeted earlier Thursday morning that a restructure has been discussed but no final decision will be made until the big front office-ownership meeting on Saturday. I only have one question: Will there be cupcakes at the meeting? Some mini-carrots and dip maybe? Possibly punch?
Personally I wonder why the Vikings would even bother messing with a Hutch restructure. The idea here is to get younger and cheaper. Paying Hutch less takes care of the cheaper part but ain’t anything in this world gonna make him younger. His presumptive replacement at left guard, Charlie Johnson, IS younger, and at this point could probably beat Hutch out in a camp competition for the spot. And you’re likely not going to shift Hutch to right guard where you have Joe Berger and Brandon Fusco waiting to duke it out. So bringing Hutch back would be a pure depth move. But it would also take up a spot that you could use on a younger guy. And that wouldn’t make a ton of sense for a rebuilding team.
I think the Vikings are just doing Hutch a courtesy by offering him the restructure. The only way they actually keep him is if he’s willing to take a tiny amount, and I don’t see Hutch doing that. He can probably still go out and score a real one-year contract from a contending team, even with age and health issues diminishing his skills, so in the end I think he gets the old “thanks for being our left guard and we’ll see you down the road” treatment. It was a nice run for Hutch.