Grudge Match, At Least for Front Offices

The two teams involved in the most acrimonious dealings of the offseason square off this weekend in Seattle.

The Seahawks are scheduled to host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The two clubs were involved in a bitter offseason tussle over free agent contracts.

The Vikings signed Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson away from the Seahawks. The Seahawks had used their transition player tag on Hutchinson, enabling them to retain him by matching any contract offer he might receive from another club in free agency. But the Vikings used a contract containing a provision the Seahawks couldn't match, known as a "poison pill," to land Hutchinson. Hutchinson's seven-year, $49 million contract would have become fully guaranteed if he wasn't the highest-paid offensive lineman on his team, and in Seattle he would have been making less than left tackle Walter Jones.

The Seahawks retaliated by using a poison pill to sign wide receiver Nate Burleson, a restricted free agent, away from the Vikings.

Paul Tagliabue, then the NFL commissioner, and owners of other teams denounced the tactics and vowed to change the rules governing such transactions. But the league and the NFL Players Association have been unable to reach an agreement on a rule to eliminate or limit such negotiating tactics.

By Mark Maske |  October 19, 2006; 10:11 AM ET  | Category:  Seahawks , Vikings
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