The Minnesota Vikings released Steve Hutchinson on Saturday, parting ways with the veteran guard after six seasons. Hutchinson's release comes as no surprise. The 34 year old guard signed a seven-year deal worth $49 million in 2006, and his release, along with cornerback Cedric Griffin and guard Anthony Herrera, saves the rebuilding franchise around $13 million in cap room.Despite Hutchinson's age and recent injuries, he remains one of the league's better offensive guards in the NFL, entering free agency with proven experience. Although he does not provide a long term option at the position, there will surely be many teams interested in his services. Are the Bengals one of those teams?
Cincinnati's problems at guard have been well documented, and the position has emerged as the top priority of the offseason. It's uncertain whether the Bengals will primarily address the position through the draft, with a prospect like David DeCastro or Cordy Glenn, or through free agency, with Carl Nicks or Ben Grubbs, but Steve Hutchinson adds another viable option. He is not a long-term solution, but he is immediate help, unlike a draft pick. If Cincinnati has their eyes set on a proven, experienced guard but are unwilling to pay the bug bucks for Nicks or Grubbs, then Hutchinson makes sense.