CANTON, Ohio — Steve Hutchinson — a pro's pro in every sense of the word — is where he belongs now that he is being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Don't ask me, and don't worry about the fact that he made seven Pro Bowls, was named a First-Team All-Pro five times and was a two-time selection as NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year.
He also blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in 11 of 12 seasons and had a significant say in Adrian Peterson rushing for an NFL single-game-record 296 yards.
But instead, his teammates and coaches are some of the best to speak about one of the very best to ever wear a helmet and pads.
Hutchinson is the 21st guard in the NFL and 15th player who spent all or most of his career with the Vikings to be enshrined.
Nearly 200 family members, friends and NFL Legends traveled to celebrate, and a couple others made sure to send in video messages in tribute to one of their favorite teammates.
Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf traveled to Canton to honor Hutchinson.
"Congratulations, Steve, I'm very proud of your induction," Wilf said. "I know how important you were to our team for many years — such a leader and such a great guy. Welcome to the Hall of Fame."
View photos of former Vikings G Steve Hutchinson receiving his gold jacket in Canton, Ohio as he's enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Here are congratulatory comments from teammates and former Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress.
Adrian Peterson (via submitted video):
"Hey, what's up Hutch? I just wanted to take a moment to say congratulations and let you know that I'm honored and proud that you're in the position you're in right now. You gave this league 12 years of playing at a high level, and I was blessed to be a part of that for five years in Minnesota.
"You were durable, you were accountable, you were physical, you were technique-sound. You were one of those guys that did it the right way every time you stepped on that field. Your presence was felt. When I lined up behind you, I knew when I ran to the left side, I had no worries. That's just a testament to why you're in the position you're in now. I'm so pumped up for you. You deserve it.
"I'll never forget my rookie year against San Diego, going into the locker room at halftime, we had 43 yards rushing. I remember looking at you guys and you weren't fazed because you knew there were opportunities that had presented themselves. A lot of them came on the left side, and I screwed the play up because I wasn't being patient, and not once did you get upset. You just told me to keep on pounding. We came out in the second half and rushed for 253 yards, and 161 of those came from your side. You're talking about a guy that dominated the game at a high level for a long time — that was you. It was just an honor to play with you, brother. I love you, and God bless you."
Note: Hutchinson opted to display a ceremonial game ball from the single-game rushing record at the Pro Football Hall of Fame (and shower shoes).
Brad Childress (to Vikings.com on the 296 game):
"It was special. We felt like we had a great formation and a great scheme and we just kept dialing it up. It all starts up front. Those guys on the left and right side did a heck of a job. It was fun to watch, against [former Chargers Head Coach and Vikings Offensive Coordinator] Norv Turner, who really appreciates a good running game. I know he's known for his passing prowess, but Norv was highly complimentary of that, and a lot of it went Steve's way."
Tom Brady (via submitted video):
"Hutch, what's up? Congratulations on the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We've known each other, man, going back 25 years, and I'm so proud of you and all that you've accomplished in life, on and off the field. You're a great example to all of us pro athletes about how to do things the right way. I'm glad to see that you're going to be enshrined this weekend. I'll be there in person and look forward to seeing you. Best always."
View photos of Vikings legend Steve Hutchinson who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug, 7, 2021.
Randy Moss (via submitted video):
"Steve Hutchinson, man, the time is over! I remember a few years ago, me and you sitting down at that banquet and you saying, 'Man, when I put that jacket on, it will be complete.' Mr. Hutchinson, we are now teammates for life. Well-deserved, great career. Congratulations, big fella."
Chad Greenway (to Vikings.com):
"It's pretty tremendous [to celebrate with Hutchinson]. Steve was a tremendous football player, an unbelievable guy, and for me it's unique because Steve came in as a free agent and I was a rookie. I was placed beside him as a locker mate and I learned a lot from him, by watching him, by taking it all in. Steve is not the most talkative guy, but you know when you get on his good side and when you become one of the clan.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Steve and how he played the game and what he stood for and his family. I emulated what he did with his family and how he interacted. Just a great dude, rough around the edges, but I always respected the way he approached the game."
Childress (to Vikings.com):
"It was great to hear in the first place that he was selected. Obviously the emotion that he showed [when he found out], that's how he played. It was great to see all of his old teammates.
"I just believe it all starts up front. He was a tempo-setter, much like when we got Jon Runyan in Philadelphia. It changed our whole line. I can say the same thing about Steve being here. It enhances everybody. His toughness is legendary and is legitimate."
John Sullivan (to Vikings.com):
"We played in the Hall of Fame Game back in 2015. Being retired now and seeing it from this perspective is totally different. I'm honored to be here to support Steve and [his wife] Landyn and celebrate the amazing career he had. He was a mentor for me during my time in Minnesota.
"The impact that he had didn't require me to see him on a daily basis. Once he had moved on, the impression that he left was set. He was a true professional, came to work every single day ready to go, ready to lead. He was amazing in the building and outside the building, treated everyone well and with respect. People enjoyed being around him, and he had a big heart and gave back to the community in Minnesota."
Randall McDaniel (to Vikings.com):
"It's great to welcome the new class in. It's always great when you know the people. I'm looking forward to his speech tonight. It's good to be back. A year away, or for me, it's two, but it's just so good to get back to somewhat normal.
"I liked the way he played when the Vikings brought him in, the nastiness to go after guys. That's what you've got to be to be a good lineman. We're the hammer, and everybody else is the nail. That's why I loved the way Steve finished the blocks. He's being rewarded for what he did on the field. No one knows what we're doing out there unless we're doing something wrong, but in the end your teammates know, and he's right where he should be. He's on that team now. The joke is you can never be cut from this team, even after you die.
"I didn't get to play with Hutch, but I got to watch him play. Congrats, Steve, it's well-deserved."
Rick Spielman (to Vikings.com):
"It's incredible just to be here and see someone so deserving go into the Hall of Fame. Not only is he a great player, but he's an even better human being, and to see him being honored for his career in Seattle and Minnesota, I feel honored just to be here.
"He was a true pro's pro, and we had a lot of young guys at the time coming into the league. Him taking that leadership, and them [seeing] how he approached the game, how he prepared every week, how he took care of his body and how he played on Sundays [helped younger players]. I don't think there was anyone out there who played as hard as Steve Hutchinson did. When you have a running back like Adrian Peterson at the time, a lot of Adrian's success, even though he's a phenomenal athlete and a great running back, you've got to give credit to Steve Hutchinson.
"Any time I'm watching the offensive linemen, just their energy and effort, because that's where the game is won, in that front 7 and it's man-on-man. He went with the approach every week that he was going to beat his man and took that approach in every game, and to see him physically dominate to not just stop but to continue until the whistle blew, to show his presence on the field, that's why he's in the Hall of Fame."
Cullen Loeffler (to Vikings.com):
"It's surreal [to celebrate with Hutchinson in person]. You know, when he came to the Vikings, we all knew that he was a tremendous player. He already had a really incredible career in Seattle, and we were fortunate enough to bring him to Minnesota. To be here is a really great feeling, so I'm so happy for him and his family. Again, it's just a testament to what a great player he was. I'm just fortunate to have played with him.
"He just brought this level of tenacity and consistency that everyone looked up to and just tried to match. A lot of us failed in doing that, but he was just a tremendous leader, a guy that was a no-b.s. guy and was the embodiment of what the Minnesota Vikings are. … That's what it takes to be a pro, what it takes to be an All-Pro and what it takes to be a Hall of Famer.
"He brought it every day, every game, every play. That's why we're here."