The Vikings announced the release of OGs Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera and CB Cedric Griffin on Saturday.
It had been reported in February that Hutchinson, who was due $7 million this season, would be a cap casualty. Hutchinson signed a seven-year deal to join the Vikings after the 2005 season. He has started all 157 games in which he has played in his career, including 14 games in 2011.
Hutchinson, who began his career with the Seahawks, did not miss a start from 2003-09. He is a seven-time Pro Bowler.
Herrera, an eight-year veteran, has started 70 games in his career for the Vikings, including 12 games last season.
Griffin had spent all six of his NFL seasons with the Vikings. Last season, he played in all 16 games, with 14 starts, recording 67 tackles and nine passes defensed. Griffin has eight career interceptions.
The Vikings hold the third pick in April's draft after going 3-13 last season.
The way we see it
The Vikings are in housecleaning mode. Neither Hutchinson nor Herrera were shocks to go; both were making too much money and were too injury-prone to go forward with as projected starters. If the Vikings select a left tackle with the No. 3 pick in the draft, they can slide Charlie Johnson inside to left guard, Hutchinson's old spot. Then the Vikings would need to find a right guard, or promote Brandon Fusco or Joe Berger to the starting lineup. Griffin isn't a stunner, either, but there was some recent thought that he perhaps could be spared given his age and the position, which is a sore spot. That said, his two bad knees were not worth the financial risk, and the team simply was forced to eat part of his salary. The team will hunt for cornerbacks aggressively in free agency or, more likely, through the draft.