Vikings C Matt Birk just finished what he called the first media conference call of his nine-year NFL career. We requested Birk after the Vikings told us that LG Steve Hutchinson
flat-out refused politely declined to speak with Seattle-area media. Hutchinson has been telling (and now showing) teammates that this week is about more than just him. I expected him to keep a low profile. The obvious storyline -- his somewhat embittered departure to the Vikings in free agency -- is worn out. Birk joked around with us and referred to Hutchinson as "Mr. Friendly" (I prefer "Sunshine") before explaining that his new teammate is actually a fun guy to be around when he isn't growling between plays. Birk even taught Hutchinson how to play cribbage, a game in which the object, as I recall, is to be the first player to accumulate 121 poison pills.