Lunchbreak: Hutchinson Among 15 Modern-Era Finalists for 2019 HOF Class

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Former Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson once again is being considered for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Hutchinson was announced Thursday night as one of 15 Modern-Era finalists for the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class. The following was included on the website’s release:

The 15 Modern-Era Finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019 include five individuals who are finalists for the first time. The list includes three first-year eligible players with cornerback Champ Bailey, tight end Tony Gonzalez and safety Ed Reed. Two others, coach Tom Flores and defensive lineman Richard Seymour, have been previously eligible for the Hall of Fame, but this year marks their first time as finalists.

The 15 Modern-Era Finalists will be considered for election to the Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets on “Selection Saturday” in Atlanta the day before Super Bowl LIII to elect the new class. The Modern-Era Finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s Selection Committee from a list of 103 nominees that was earlier reduced to 25 semifinalists, during the year-long selection process.

Hutchinson also was named a finalist last year.

Hutchinson played for the Vikings from 2006-11, during which he received four of his seven career Pro Bowl nods. He was named All-Pro five times, three while in Minnesota. The Vikings acquired the guard in 2006 from the Seahawks. Hutchinson played for Seattle from 2001-05. He finished his NFL career with the Titans in 2012.

This year’s finalists include four offensive linemen: Hutchinson, guard Alan Faneca (Steelers 1998-2007; Jets 2008-09; Cardinals 2010), tackle Tony Boselli (Jaguars 1995-2001) and center Kevin Mawae (Seahawks 1994-97; Jets 1998-2005; Titans 2006-09).

The other Modern-Era finalists are as follows, in alphabetical order: S Steve Atwater, CB Champ Bailey, WR Isaac Bruce, Head Coach Don Coryell, Head Coach Tom Flores, TE Tony Gonzalez, RB Edgerrin James, CB Ty Law, S John Lynch, S Ed Reed and DL Richard Seymour.

Zylstra hoping to ‘apply what I learned’ in first NFL season

Brandon Zylstra was excited for the opportunity to play for his home-state Vikings, who signed him after the Spicer, Minnesota, native had a breakout season in the Canadian Football League.

Zylstra was part of the Vikings 53-man roster throughout the entire 2018 season but played sparingly, finishing the year with one catch for 23 yards. He also contributed on special teams.

While the receiver is proud to have a full NFL season under his belt, Zylstra recently said that he is aiming higher.

“I had high expectations going in,” Zylstra told Tom Larson of the West Central Tribune. “I feel I fell short of the goals I set for myself. But it was a big learning year for me. How you are coached, how you approach everything. Now I want to apply what I learned.”

Zylstra won't spend a lot of time trying to make sense of his team’s 2018 season. Instead, he's looking ahead at what he can do to improve and earn a spot on the 2019 team.

Zylstra has a couple years left on his deal, but he plans to dedicate himself this offseason like everything is still on the line, which, in the NFL, it always is. Players come via the draft and free agency while others depart. Personnel and plans can change in an instant.

“I want to have more confidence going into camp,” Zylstra told Larson. “I want to make the plays I know I can make and be more of a leader instead of just being an observer. But I'll still be a student of the game.

“Even with the contract, you're not secure,” Zylstra said. “Your job could be here today and gone tomorrow. I don't have that sense of comfort. I have to keep working, moving forward and getting better.”

Robinson would like to be back with Vikings in 2019

The Vikings signed Aldrick Robinson in September, and the receiver put up quite the catch-to-touchdown ratio. He had just 17 catches this season, but five of them were for scores.

Robinson spoke with Twin Cities media members on Monday morning, when he and teammates cleaned out their lockers following a disappointing loss to Chicago that eliminated the Vikings from the postseason.

Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press wrote that the 30-year-old would like to be back with Minnesota if the team wants to re-sign him. Mizutani wrote:

While the team didn’t get the results it wanted, it’s safe to say Robinson got the results he wanted, at least from a personal standpoint. He meshed well with quarterback Kirk Cousins and served as a perfect complement to the one-two punch of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.

“It’s more vertical,” Robinson said when asked why he adapted so seamlessly to the offense this season. “That’s my game. I like to run. This was a more vertical system for me.”

If everyone gets on the same page, Robinson feels like the sky is the limit. He just hopes he’s around to be a part of it.

“We are one of the most talented offenses in the league,” Robinson said. “We have a lot of talent. We just have to find ways to use that talent. I think we did a good job of doing that (this season). It just didn’t work out how we wanted it to.”

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