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Originally published February 20, 2012 at 8:56 PM | Page modified February 20, 2012 at 11:48 PM

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Minnesota Vikings face tough call on Steve Hutchinson | NFL

Some of the Minnesota Vikings' most experienced starters have contracts and ages that make them candidates for a pay cut — or for being cut from the team. One of them is five-time All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson, 34, who is scheduled to make $6.95 million in 2012.

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Poor Vikings, serves them right for using an over-blown contract balloon to steal Hutch... MORE
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings are going younger this offseason. Some of their most experienced starters have contracts and ages that make them candidates for a pay cut — or for being cut from the team.

One of them is five-time All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson, who is scheduled to make $6.95 million in 2012, the final installment of a seven-year deal worth as much as $49 million. He is aware of the way his salary sticks out.

"I know what the cap situation is and all that, but it's out of my control," said the 34-year-old Hutchinson, a 2001 first-round draft choice of the Seahawks who played for Seattle through the 2005 season.

Hutchinson said he wouldn't be surprised if the Vikings ask him to redo his deal to stay this season. He also acknowledged he has considered the possibility of being let go before the new league season begins and free agency opens next month.

"Any player has to worry about that in the NFL," Hutchinson said Monday.

Last year, the Vikings jettisoned left tackle Bryant McKinnie and wide receiver Bernard Berrian well ahead of the expiration of their contracts. Right guard Anthony Herrera, set to draw $2.65 million this season, is another candidate for the same fate, though cornerback Cedric Griffin, with three more years on his deal at more than $14 million combined, is the most glaring contender after a down season.

Hutchinson, 6 feet 5 and 313 pounds, is a mainstay of the offensive line. He started 131 consecutive games, including the playoffs, until a broken right thumb sidelined him at the end of 2010. His last of seven Pro Bowl selections came in the 2009 season, and his durability and dominant blocking aren't what they were.

But the Vikings would surely miss him if he goes.

They averaged 144.9 yards rushing per game last season, ranking fourth in the league, despite a new left tackle and instability at right guard.

When asked to assess his performance in 2011, Hutchinson said he played "great."

After shoulder surgery in 2010 to repair an injury he played through in 2009, Hutchinson wasn't as strong that year as he wanted to be because of all the time spent on rehabilitation rather than training. With extra time to rest last summer during the lockout, he got healthier.

"It was the best shape I've been in in a number of years," Hutchinson said.


• Kansas City agreed to terms on a $19.6 million, three-year deal with cornerback Stanford Routt, 28, which could help the Chiefs absorb the potential loss of cornerback Brandon Carr, 25.

Routt is still owed $5 million next month from the Oakland Raiders, who released him after the first year of a $54.4 million, five-year deal.

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