The Curse of Steve Hutchinson?
Yesterday Percy Harvin and the Seattle Seahawks announced that Harvin would undergo hip surgery that would likely keep him off the playing field for a majority, if not all of, the 2013 season. In what appeared to be a hastily composed tweet, Harvin said: “When everything is goin good sometimes life throw u a curve ball… sorry to half to report that my injury will require surgery…” As a Vikings fan I was, admittedly, none too pleased about the way things ended with Harvin in Minnesota. However, I would never wish ill will or injury upon the guy—that seems like more of an Eagles fan thing to do. But with this recent bit of news I couldn’t help but think: “Is this just the latest chapter in ‘The Curse of Steve Hutchinson’”?
As a refresher, Steve Hutchinson was a first round draft pick by the Seahawks in the 2001 NFL Draft who went on to become an All-Pro guard for the team. After his fifth season, Seattle slapped the “transition” tag on him as he became a free agent, meaning Seattle could match any offer he received and would be entitled to a compensatory draft pick if he still decided to sign elsewhere. But when the Vikings offered Hutchinson some $49 million over seven years after the 2005 season they included language in the contract that made it virtually impossible (in a business sense) for the Seahawks to match the offer, and they didn’t. This move so incensed the Hawks' front office that they countered by signing Vikings’ similarly-restricted free agent wideout Nate Burleson to a childish tit-for-tat-sounding seven-year $49 million deal. The Vikings did receive compensation in the form of a third round draft pick and Burleson never panned out to anything more than a #3 receiver on most teams. But it didn’t end there.
In the years that followed Seattle has seemed hell-bent on evening the Hutchinson score with Minnesota, and thus far it has been to their detriment. After a breakout 2009 season and injury-plagued 2010 campaign the Seahawks signed free agent Minnesota wide receiver Sidney Rice to a five-year deal worth $41 million with $18 million guaranteed. While the Vikings really wanted to keep Rice, they could not afford him at that price. That same off season Seattle also signed Tarvaris Jackson (a mediocre-at-best QB that Minnesota had no designs on re-signing) and immediately named him starter. Neither Rice nor Jackson has come even close to living up to expectations. In Rice’s defense, he’s dealt with many injuries. Jackson is… well… Jackson. Which brings us to this past off-season, where it was widely perceived that Seattle fleeced Minnesota in the deal for Harvin and, for good measure, signed former Vikes cornerback Antoine Winfield as well. Though Minnesota had released Winfield, they had hoped to bring him back and even made him a better offer than the one he eventually took in Seattle.
And so it goes. Is there a “Curse of Steve Hutchinson”? Probably not. But if there is, I sincerely hope it does not affect Winfield, who is one hell of a player and, reportedly, person. Whatever the case, let’s hope that Seattle has had enough of trying to stick it to the Minnesota Vikings. That hardly seems like a formula for winning championships.