BY SPNW Staff 01:34PM 03/14/2012

TE Carlson Bolts; Steve Hutchinson (!), Flynn due in

Carlson gets $25 million, $11 million guaranteed, despite missing all last season after shoulder surgery in Seattle; QBs Flynn, Henne booking visits to Seattle.

John Carlson scored a big deal with the Minnesota Vikings in free agency Wednesday. / Seattle Seahawks photo

Tight end John Carlson, a Seahawks second-round draft choice in 2008, signed Wednesday a five-year, $25 million free agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings. It includes $11 million in guaranteed money, according to

The deal was s stunner (keep reading for stunner No. 2) since Carlson sat out all of last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery to repair a torn labrum, and didn’t seem to figure heavily into the Seahawks’ plans because his blocking wasn’t what coach Pete Carroll wanted.

Carlson, who went to high school near Minneapolis before going to Notre Dame, was destined to be the second tight end in Seattle behind Zach Miller, who was acquired in free agency last season from Oakland. The Vikings also seemed to have a quality tight end in Kyle Rudolph, but Carlson reportedly received interest from at least eight teams, which drove up his free agent price.

In his rookie season, Carlson set the franchise record for tight ends in receptions (55) and yards (627). He had 51 catches in 2009 but the total dropped to 31 in 2010 as Carroll used Carlson more in pass protection because of an injury-riddled offensive line.

Then he injured his shoulder Aug. 13 in training camp, and on Aug. 30 came the news he would be lost for the year. Miller, however, was even less productive in the passing game, with 28 receptions and a long of 28 yards with no touchdowns. He too, was asked to help protect new quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

“We’re certainly going to miss John,” Carroll said at the time of his injury. “We were really counting on him having a fantastic year for us. So that’s a big loss for us.”

Perhaps as stunning as Carlson’s bolt for Minnesota is that former Seahawk All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson, who made a controversial exit to the Vikings after the 2005 season, was taking a visit to Seahawks headquarters Wednesday. Hutchinson made three Pro Bowls during his tenure with the Seahawks and four more with Minnesota.

He’s 34now and became expendable in Minnesota in the wake of a youth movement and salary-cap concerns. He also visited the Tennessee Titans, and it’s unclear how aggressively Seattle will chase him, if at all.

In related free agent news,  quarterback Matt Flynn is reported to be ready to take a visit with the Seahawks Thursday. Flynn, who made a big reputation for himself in two starts in Green Bay, is the No. 2 free agent quarterback behind Peyton Manning, who was reported by various media outlets to be in Nashville Wednesday to hear a pitch from the Titans. Former Miami quarterback Chad Henne will also visit Seattle.

If Manning, who played college ball for Tennessee, ended up a Titan, he would displace former Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck, who had a good season in the first of a three-year deal to be a bridge to Jake Locker, the former University of Washington quarterback who backed up Hasselbeck.

Henne doesn’t seem like a long-term solution for Seattle. He has 31 touchdowns, 37 interceptions and a 13-18 record in Miami.

Free Agents Signed

Date Player Pos. Terms
Feb. 10 *Breno Giacomini OL $1.5 million base in 2012, $3 million in 2013
March 4 *Marshawn Lynch RB 4 years, $31 million, $18m guaranteed
March 14 *Red Bryant DE 5 years, $35 million, $14m guaranteed
March 14 *Heath Farwell LB Contract terms not yet disclosed

Free Agents Lost

Date Player Pos. Terms
March 14 Roy Lewis CB Seahawks did not offer 1-year tender
March 15 John Carlson TE 5 years, $25 million with Vikings

*=Own free agent


  • Burnabybound

    Mullan plays for the Colorado Rockies?

    • Artthiel

       40 lashes (with a scarf, please) for my error.

  • Unforgiven

    Art, first day covering this story?  Mullan didn’t try a clean tackle.  He was upset for a non-call moments earlier and took out his frustrations on Steve’s career.  Until he is willing to come clean on what he did and why he did it there really isn’t a reason to forgive him.  How can you forgive somebody who won’t admit what he did wrong?

  • RadioGuy

    Sorry, Art, I’m not with you on this one.  Mullan’s tackle on Zakuani was arguably the cheapest shot taken against a Seattle soccer player since San Jose’s Gonzalo Perez did the same thing to Pepe Hernandez in 1974 at a time when Pepe was playing terrific soccer and becoming a local folk hero…he was never close to the same player after he came back.

    Tackling is a part of soccer, including hard tackles.  But doing so with the intent to injure a player and threaten his livelihood?  I can’t condone it.

  • Larry B.

    To anybody who was watching that game, Mullan’s excuse for the postgame comments, “I didn’t yet know the extent of his injuries” does not ring true.  I heard the crack of Zak’s bones breaking on the TV, for goodness sake!.  I saw the look of absolute horror on Mauro Rosales’ face when he was trying to comfort Zak.  Everybody in that stadium or watching on TV knew immediately that this was a terrible injury. But Mullan, they guy who was closest to Zak when it happened, didn’t realize what he had done?  Give me a break!  I feel for the guy because he has to live with what he did, knowing that he did it in anger after thinking he got fouled moments before.  But I would be much more inclined to forgive him if he didn’t make excuses for his actions.

    • Hammtime

      Art, I agree with Larry. The extent of the injury was obvious immediately. I too was watching it and the sound…oh…that sickening sound and to see the leg flop as Zak’s momentum slowed. ugh….it makes me ill to picture it again. For Mullan to say he had no idea is either complete B.S.

      I get it. Maybe it was out of character for Mullan. But still, such reckless play can’t be tolerated. We still don’t know if Zak will ever be the same.

  • E.

    This piece inaccurately simplifies the issues in order to reach an artificially noble point of view. As others have mentioned, Mullan’s actions had vicious intent that had more to do with retribution than with an attempt to gain possession. It was not motivated by the context of the sport but by the context of revenge. I appreciate when folks try to take the high road at times, but part of being just and fair also involves recognizing when vicious behavior occurred and responding to it with commensurate outrage. This is less about fans reacting like mindless Romans in the colosseum and more about athletes displaying brutal behavior that ends up threatening the career of a talented and smart athlete.

  • Robert Lee

    Sports need villains as much as they need heroes. I suspect Mullan will get a dose of venom upon entry to the pitch, and every time he touches the ball. The only thing that would stop that would be Steve Z. getting on a mic and asking the fans to forgive. (And even that might not work) 

  • “The better thing would be to maintain a silence at his introduction, sight or ball possession. The best thing would be polite applause.”

    Anyone else’s jaw still on the floor?

  • Agentkooper

    I’ve had to look into myself to decide how I personally respond during this game, and I’m still not sure of the answer. But to compare A-Rod leaving for a paycheck and Mullan’s actions on the pitch, especially considering the outcome… C’mon Art! That’s like comparing apples and hand grenades.

  • Rpoole11

    Wow, polite applause? really? That is one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever heard. Mullan will get booed, this time, and likely every time he returns to Seattle for the rest of his career. He didn’t “make a mistake” He got angry and attacked an opponent with a vicious tackle, and unless he’s blind and deaf he knew he broke Zak’s leg.

  • Uatu

    The play was not unintentional.  If you watch the play, a midfielder
    tries a long pass to Mulen, but Zak steals it from him and Mulen raises
    hands in disgust to the official because he felt Tyson Wahl manhandled
    him.  He was going to get the ball back no matter what and takes chase
    once he knows no call will be made.  Note that he takes a direct line
    towards the sideline where SZ is running.  He does not change angle or
    speed because Mulen has given himself to the dark side out of
    frustration and anger and denies wrongdoing and only apologizes when he
    sees how badly he misjudged his tackle only when he finds out how
    seriously injured SZ is.  From my perspective Mulen, cost SZ a year of
    soccer experience, endangered his livelihood and mobility, and to an
    uncertain point altered his career path and earnings for the future
    because he didn’t like the call and lost his head for an instant,
    despite years of getting yellow cards and then being heady enough to
    tone down his physicality.  Zakuani is 100% class, but unfortunately, I
    am not, at least when this type of bodily harm has happened due to bad