Steve Hutchinson, Tony Richardson Are Vikings

It sure took a long time. But in the end, it was worth the wait. Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl guard is now a Viking. At 6′ 5", 313 pounds, Hutchinson will be a massive presence lining up between center (6’4", 309 lbs) and the even more massive tackle 6’8", 335 lbs). This left side helps explain why the Vikings didn’t go after a marquee running back like : Anyone should be able to run behind these guys.

Anyone is and the Vikings new back got some help today, as well, when the team signed Kansas City Chiefs fullback . Richardson was a nice pick up. At 6’1", 238 lbs, Richardson is a true fullback who can do it all. Though he has been used primarliy as a lead blocker for the past several seasons, he’s got soft hands and he can carry the ball as well.

Frankly, if the Hutchinson deal had fallen though, the Vikings efforts in free agency would’ve been a disappointment. We needed at least one rock star signing and we got that with Hutchinson, turningg a weakness into a strength by shoring up at least half of a line that was disasterous last season.

But we did sign him and you gotta give the Vikings all the credit for putting their money where they mouth is.

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The Gamer Vote

The is trying to convince gamers to set aside their controllers long enough to mobilize against legislation in various states and nationally that would put restrictions on the sale of video games and/or fine retailers who contravened those laws.

They’ve created the as the vehicle to activate gamers. It’s not a bad idea but count me as skeptical because those who are most likely to be most offended by such laws–hard-core gamers–are the hardest to reach because, you guessed it!, they’re playing games.

, the average gamer is 30 years old (just the age  when people tend to become more politically active) and the vast majority of game buyers are over 18 years of age; six in ten gamers are men; and most expect to be playing as much or more video games than they do now. That tells me they’ve got a vested interest in easy access to their pasttime.

I don’t think games should be treated any differently than books or movies or music. I do think they are a legitmate form of artistic expression that deserves every bit as much constitutional protection of any other form of artistic or political expression. And I most emphatically do not believe that there is a causal link between video game violence and it’s real life counterpart.

Video games are an easy target for politicians looking to bolster their "family values" credentials. As a Democrat, it pains me to admit that these politicians are largely from my own party. Chief among them are , , and . All three are sponsoring the so-called "," and all three have or have had presidential ambitions.

There was a study recently that demonstrated heightened levels of agressiveness in people just after they’d played certain video games. I’ve no doubt that’s true. But the implication that that violence carries over into everyday life does not follow.

A game like is crime and fighting game; it requires agressiveness. That doesn’t mean I am more likely to go out and put a cap someone’s ass or run someone over because I just did it in the game.

But if it’s discovered that some school shooter played Grand Theft Auto, then it must be the game that caused the violence. It’s certainly an easy explanation, however flawed.

A more realistic explanation–yet harder to fit into a news segment–is that the violence is a result of a whole host of reasons, many of which may be specific solely to that individual. I just find it an incredible stretch to believe that playing video games will cause an otherwise normal and healthy kid to commit violence in real life.

That’s not to say that kids should be able to play any type of video game they want. I don’t. My sixteen year old nephew was visiting some time ago, grabbed Grand Theft Auto from the shelf, and said let’s play this.

I do not for a second believe that playing the game would do him any harm and I think he’s mature enough to responsibly handle the game’s content. But it wasn’t my call. Until he’s 18 years old, that’s his parent’s decision. I’ve no doubt he’s played it before, but at least I was sending him the message that even his cool uncle thinks the game is not yet appropriate for him.

Had I let him play it, the "Family Entertainment Protection Act" would not have prevented him from playing the game and I guess it would have made me a criminal if not in fact, then in spirit.

The fact is that families already have the tools to "protect" themselves from entertainment (which is a rather absurdly hilarious thought, when you think about it). Their called .

The missing ingredient here seems to be the parents themselves. The parents need to read the ratings before buying the games for their kids. The parents need to be involved enough in their childrens’ lives to know when they’re consuming something that is inappropriate. My sister, for example, locks up the controllers so her kids can only play video games when she approves. She knows what games they play. That’s a fine solution.

What is intensely annoying about things like the "Family Entertainment Protection Act" is that I do not want to live in a locked-down child-safe world.

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Losing Nate Burleson

restricted free agent reciever is in Seattle for a two-day visit with the . Burleson is from Seattle. If the Seahawks sign him, it will cost them a third-round pick.

I think Burleson is worth more than a third-round pick, but I wouldn’t mind it so much if we lose him.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Burleson a lot but last year he was given the opportunity to be the featured reciever and he didn’t run away with the job, and then he got hurt. As a smallish receiver, his durability was a question he failed to dispell.

He’s not a featured reciever. He’s a slot receiver.

Then you look at our other recievers and it’s hard to find a place for him. We just signed to a lucrative contract to be the big-play guy. proved to be a great slot receiver last year, just catching anything thrown his way. You’ve got to get last year’s seventh overall pick on the field a lot more this year, so you know ‘s role will expand greatly. And then you’ve got still in the mix, probably as a red-zone specialist.

There’s not a hell of a lot left for Nate.

So if the Seahawks sign him, I’m fine with that, and good luck to him.

Lastly, an extra pick has great appeal to me in this year’s linebacker-rich draft.

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What About Herschel Walker?

, the paper ranks the 10 biggest trades in Vikings history from best to worst. Best? The trade that brought back from New York. Fair enough. The worst? The trade.

Sure, that was a bad trade but, um, what about ?!? Please. The Herschel Walker trade was without a doubt the worst trade in ‘ history, if not in NFL history.

At the time it was the largest player trade in NFL history, probably still is. On October 12, 1989, Vikings general manager Mike Lynn sent linebackers Jesse Solomon and David Howard, defensive back Issiac Holt, defensive end Alex Stewart, and running back Darrin Nelson, and 6 draft picks (conditional picks in the 1st & 2nd round in 1990 and 1991 and their 1st round and a conditional 3rd round pick in 1992) to the for their star running back, Herschel Walker.

Dallas shrewdly waived and schemed and manuevered and ended up drafting the team that built their Super Bowl dynasty of the 90s on the foundation of the Herschel Walker trade.

The most notable players the Cowboys got in the deal were running back , defensive tackle , cornerback Kevin Smith, Pro Bowl safety , and cornerback Clayton Holmes.

It took nearly a decade for the Vikings to recover.

C’mon.

Maybe there’s a reason Knight Ridder was being sold.

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Twin Cities Mashup

I’ve started a Twin Cities bars, restaurants, entertainment and just places I like Google mashup. Click on the balloons for each location to get a popup text box with more information. There are also links below the map you can use to the same effect. I’ll try and add a location a day. You can always get to it by clicking the link on the sidebar on the right.

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