Former Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson, a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame the past two years, is a semifinalist for the third straight year, the Hall announced today.
A seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time first-team Associated Press selection is one of three offensive linemen to make the list of 25 modern-era semifinalists. Joining him again are former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli and former Steelers, Jets and Cardinals guard Alan Faneca. Boselli and Faneca have been semifinalists five times.
Three first-year eligible players — safety Troy Polamalu, receiver Reggie Wayne and linebacker Patrick Willis — headline the list of semifinalists. Making their debuts as semifinalists are linebacker Carl Banks, defensive tackle Bryant Young and running backs Fred Taylor and Ricky Watters.
The other semifinalists are: safeties Steve Atwater, LeRoy Butler, John Lynch and Darren Woodson; cornerback Ronde Barber; receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Hines Ward; special teamer Steve Tasker; running back Edgerrin James; linebackers Clay Matthews, Zach Thomas and Sam Mills; and defensive linemen Simeon Rice and Richard Seymour.
The 48-member selection committee will reduce the semifinalist field to 15 finalists. Those names will be released Jan. 2.
The field will be reduced to five and then voted on individually in Miami on Feb. 1, the day before Super Bowl LIV.
Meanwhile, a 25-person “Centennial Blue-Ribbon” committee is in the process of selecting 10 senior candidates, three contributors and two coaches. Those 15 selections will bypass the full selection committee and be placed in the Hall of Fame.