When asked to assess his performance in 2011, Hutchinson said he played "great." After shoulder surgery in 2010 to repair an injury he played through in 2009, Hutchinson wasn't as strong that year as he wanted to be because of all the time spent on rehabilitation rather than training. With extra time to rest last summer during the lockout, he came back much healthier.
"It was the best shape I've been in in a number of years," Hutchinson said.
He missed the last two games with a concussion, just the third of his 11 pro seasons he didn't play in all 16 games. His helmet came off during a play against the New Orleans Saints, and he got kicked in the back of the head hard enough that his teeth cut his lip.
"I took quite the blow to the head. I was fortunate to not have any concussions before that. I passed the baseline test and remembered everything, but it was more of a balance issue I was dealing with, an equilibrium-type thing," Hutchinson said.
His 2011 season ended early, but that wasn't necessarily a negative. The Vikings finished 3-13, an embarrassing mark on everyone's resume.
"It was a rough year," Hutchinson said. "What could've gone wrong went wrong. I've been fortunate enough that it was the first time in my career I had a season like that. It's not fun. I hope to never have that happen again. Hopefully it was a one-year deal."
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