Former Vikings All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame Thursday evening in Mobile, Alabama.
"I'm humbled," Hutchinson said. "If you think about it, a majority of the guys that have done well [in the NFL] have played in the Senior Bowl."
Hutchinson played for the Vikings from 2006-2011 after a five-year run with the Seahawks. During his six seasons in Minnesota, Hutchinson started all 75 games he played and received four of his seven Pro Bowl nods while in purple and gold.
"Steve set the standard for offensive guard play during his remarkable NFL career that included seven trips to the Pro Bowl," said Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage at the banquet. "Blessed with excellent athletic ability, strength and football instincts, he became the prototype for the position and a model of consistency for both the Seahawks and Vikings."
Hutchinson was inducted along with former Alabama Head Coach Bill Curry and Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali. Past inductees include Joe Namath, Walter Payton, Dan Marino, Bo Jackson and former Vikings Brett Favre, Paul Krause and Randall McDaniel.
"What an honor for the Reese's Senior Bowl to recognize three individuals who have not only excelled on the field but have been tremendous representatives for the sport off the field as well," said Savage.
According to the Senior Bowl website, Hutchinson, Curry and Hali comprise the 28th class in the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame and brings the total to 111 members. Throughout a 65-year run, the Senior Bowl has hosted over 5,000 collegiate athletes.
View photos of Pro Football Hall of Famer and Vikings Ring of Honor member, Alan Page, who celebrates his birthday on August 7.
'Retirement' not a part of Alan Page's Vocabulary
Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Alan Page forged quite the NFL career, playing 12 seasons with the Vikings before three with the Bears. Page is a nine-time Pro Bowler, a member of the 50 Greatest Vikings and was enshrined in his hometown of Canton in 1988.
When he hung up his cleats, Page exchanged them for a robe – and not the type you'd normally expect a retiree to wear. Justice Page was elected to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992, and he served until the summer of 2015, when he retired for the second time in his life at age of 70.
Page has lived a life of difference-making, and he's not done yet.
Page influenced the game of football, he influenced social justice, and he's now continuing to influence education. Christopher Farrell of the New York Times wrote:
*The power of education to make a positive difference is one of Mr. Page's core beliefs. Even in his 1988 talk at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he focused on the transformative value of education, highlighting in particular the need for investing in black teenagers, "the most unemployed and undervalued people in our society." *
Page and his wife, Diane, created the Page Education Foundation to grant Minnesota students of color scholarships for colleges in the state. His foundation has raised more than $12 million dollars and provided more than 6,500 scholarships for 4,500 "Page Scholars" students over 28 years.
Now retired from the Supreme Court, Page doesn't plan on stepping away from his passion for education but farther into it. In fact, he's currently working on his third children's book with his daughter, Kamie Page.
Page shared his off-field passions in 1988, and 28 years later, those goals have not changed.
*Looking ahead to new challenges and not back on old glories, Mr. Page asked the audience [during his speech]: "What contribution can I still make that would be truly worth of the outpouring of warmth and good feelings I have received today? And the answer, for me, is clear: to help give other children the chance to achieve their dreams." *
Goessling: Vikings could still go offensive line in draft
In his Twitter Mailbag column Thursday evening, ESPN's Ben Goessling had more dialogue with fans regarding the Vikings offensive line for 2016 and even looking ahead to upcoming seasons. Goessling said, considering the current linemen's contracts, he could still see Minnesota drafting an offensive line player this year.
I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them take an offensive lineman early in the draft; they could need a starter or two in 2017, and as [Vikings General Manager] Rick Spielman has said, it can take linemen some time to figure out how to be effective in the NFL. The way the Vikings approach the draft, and with how many questions they have at the position after this year, we shouldn't assume they won't take a lineman just because they've made some additions in free agency.
Goessling also gave his thoughts on some of the Vikings backup linemen, emphasizing the importance of depth at that position.
It will be interesting to see if [Jeremiah] Sirles can develop into a solid backup or viable starter at tackle – remember, he beat out Mike Harris on the Chargers' roster in 2014, before Harris went to the Vikings – and [Nick] Easton's quickness and intelligence helped him catch the Vikings' eye before they acquired him last October.