|Hutchinson will no longer be patroling the left side of Minnesota's offensive line. (US Presswire)|
In a move that was widely expected, the Vikings have released seven-time Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson, the team announced Saturday. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, combine that with Minnesota's decision also to release right guard Anthony Herrera and cornerback Cedric Griffin, the Vikings will save close to $14 million in cap space for 2012 and will allow them to take a chance to sign a big-time cornerback or receiver.
Of course, the move doesn't do anything to help the struggling offensive line. But as we posted in our NFC North free agency preview, the Vikings could take USC's Matt Kalil with the No. 3 pick in next month's draft and make him a left tackle and then move former left tackle Charlie Johnson to one of the vacated guard spots.
While Hutchinson, at the age of 36 34, is probably done with Minnesota forever, the paper opines that Herrera, who was owed $2.65 million for 2012, could return if he signs a less-expensive contract.
“It was a tough decision as we move forward and prepare for the upcoming season and the future of our organization,” coach Leslie Frazier said in a statement. “All three individuals have meant a great deal to the Vikings organization both on and off field over the years. We wish all of them the best and thank them for their service to the Minnesota Vikings.”For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add ourRSS Feed.