Steve Hutchinson's reaction to the knock on his hotel door spoke volumes.
The former Vikings guard – who also played for the Seahawks and Titans – found out Saturday afternoon he'd been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
Mark Craig of the Star Tribune, who is part of the selection committee, said that Hutchinson was the last of five inductees to receive the knock from Hall of Fame President David Baker. Craig quoted Hutchinson, who spoke to media members in Miami:
"Going through this process the last [three] years, it's a hard day," said Hutchinson. "I've never been so tired from not doing anything.
"The knock was 3:35 [p.m.] and I'm thinking, 'I'm getting another late [rejection] call,' " he added. "As soon as the knock happens, it's hard to explain. It's like a weighted vest is taken immediately off your shoulders."
Hutchinson said the final 10 minutes felt like "seven hours" as he waited in anticipation.
"It was crazy. I was getting all tight. Then you get the knock and ... you start floating," he said. "And it's like, 'Is this real?' We all just kind of broke down at once. It's great. It's indescribable. I sound like an idiot right now."
View the best photos from the career of Vikings G Steve Hutchinson who has been named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The four other modern-era players chosen by the 48-member selection committee are Broncos safety Steve Atwater, Rams receiver Isaac Bruce, Colts and Cardinals running back Edgerrin James and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, elected in his first year of eligibility. Joining them are 15 members of a Centennial Class chosen earlier by a special blue-ribbon committee.
Hutchinson was known for brute-forth strength, impeccable technique, intelligence and a nastiness that Brad Childress coveted when he left Philadelphia as offensive coordinator for the Vikings head coaching job in 2006.
View photos of Vikings legend Steve Hutchinson at NFL Honors who was recognized after recently being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Craig detailed the selection process, saying the committee met in Miami for 6 hours and 50 minutes to discuss the 15 finalists, trim the group to 10 and then narrow it to five.
Eliminated in the cut to five were Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, Patriots defensive tackle Richard Seymour, Buccaneers and Broncos safety John Lynch, Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli and Steelers guard Alan Faneca.
The committee spent 35 minutes, 59 seconds discussing Boselli and the brevity of his great but injury-shortened career. Hutch's discussion went 21 minutes, 31 seconds while Faneca, a six-time first-team All-Pro, was discussed for only 9 minutes, 35 seconds.
Hutchinson described his relief after finally getting the announcement that will forever honor him in Canton.
"Just lying in bed [Saturday night] and knowing there's no pressure anymore, no anxiety," Hutchinson said. "Just wake up tomorrow and get fitted for my [bronze bust]."
Coller opines how Vikings can reach SBLV
The Vikings advanced to the Divisional round with the NFL's final eight teams this season but fell short of their ultimate goal.
After watching the Chiefs reach a Super Bowl for the first time in 50 seasons, and win it, what are some keys that could help the Vikings make it to the big dance?
Matthew Coller of SKOR North looked at ways Minnesota can "build off last year's 10-win season and Wild Card round victory" in 2020.
Coller laid out five areas the Vikings should focus on: Improve pass protection, throw to Stefon Diggs more, improve cornerback play, see repeat performances from a trio of defenders and "take some big swings."
Coller wrote the following about Minnesota's cornerbacks:
Overall the Vikings were solid against the pass in 2019. They ranked seventh in EPA against the pass and allowed the 10th-lowest quarterback rating in the league. But their Achilles heel was that opponents could succeed throwing toward their outside corners. Combined between Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, QBs completed 110 of 154 passes for 1,460 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception, good for a quarterback rating of 117.9, per PFF data.
He opined that the Vikings will need Mike Hughes to "emerge as a star," possibly add a cornerback in free agency or use a first-round pick on the position.
Coller went on to highlight the dominant performance of one player from each level of Minnesota's defense.
The reason the Vikings were able to survive poor play from outside corners and still thrive is because they received some marvelous performances from other players on defense. Harrison Smith, Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter all ranked in the top five by PFF grades at their positions (as did Anthony Harris, who is a free agent).
Smith gave up a 35.3 rating when targeted with zero touchdowns and three interceptions, Kendricks had the most pass breakups in the NFL and Hunter was No. 2 in QB pressures. In order to get anywhere next season, they will have to be every bit as excellent.