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Updated: March 14th, 2012 4:02pm
What poison pill? Ex-Viking Steve Hutchinson visits with Seahawks

What poison pill? Ex-Viking Steve Hutchinson visits with Seahawks

by Judd Zulgad
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An unlikely reunion might take place in Seattle.

Guard Steve Hutchinson, let go by the Minnesota Vikings last weekend, reportedly was set to make a free-agent visit with the Seahawks on Wednesday. This comes after Hutchinson spent time with the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday.

The potential for Hutchinson to return to Seattle is interesting because he was that team's first-round pick in 2001 and spent his first five seasons with the organization before departing as a free agent in 2006 in a controversial move to Minnesota.

Hutchinson, 34, had been given the transition tag by the Seahawks, meaning he had more freedom than if he had received the franchise designation, and he was able to use that to his advantage when the Vikings signed him to a seven-year, $49 million offer sheet that contained a "poison pill" clause that guaranteed the full amount if Hutchinson wasn't his team's highest-paid lineman.

This was no issue for the Vikings, who had no one making near what Hutchinson was offered, but the Seahawks had given left tackle Walter Jones a richer contract than what Hutchinson would receive in Minnesota.

This meant the Seahawks would have had to immediately guarantee $49 million to Hutchinson and, thus, create all kinds of salary-cap problems.

Seattle did not match, but their management was furious and shortly thereafter pursued Vikings wide receiver Nate Burleson, who was a restricted free agent. Burleson was offered an identical contract to Hutchinson that was loaded with "poison pills."

The Vikings allowed him to leave and shortly thereafter the NFL let both the Seahawks and Vikings know how upset they were with the contract games they had played.

Hutchinson's return to Seattle, if it happens, would come with few left in the Seattle front office from his days playing for the team. Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is now the president of the Cleveland Browns.

There would be at least one familiar face on the Seahawks coaching staff for Hutchinson. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell held the same job in Minnesota from 2006 to 2010.

Meanwhile, right guard Anthony Herrera, who also was released by the Vikings last weekend, reportedly was set to visit with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday. Herrera, 31, would be reunited in Chicago with offensive coordinator Mike Tice, who kept Herrera as an undrafted free agent in 2004.

Herrera became a regular starter in 2007, but battled injuries the past two seasons.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd