Big changes on the Vikings’ offensive line. Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer-Press has broken the news (via Twitter) that the team will cut guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera. It was a foregone conclusion that Herrera would be cut, but Hutchinson still had a chance to stay on a restructured contract. Obviously the Hutch renegotiation didn’t work out and now the former Pro Bowler is on the street.
Both Hutchinson and Herrera battled through injuries in 2011, fueling speculation that they would be let go after the season. The Vikings’ stated intention to rebuild with younger talent all but sealed their fates. These two moves will save the Vikings a reported $9.7 million against the cap.
Candidates to start at guard in 2012 include Charlie Johnson, who played left tackle last season but is better suited to the guard position. The right guard spot will likely go down to a camp battle between veteran Joe Berger and 2011 draft pick Brandon Fusco. The Vikings could also dip into free agency, but don’t look for them to make a run at Carl Nicks, the #1 prize at the position.