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Hatch Latest to Bolt Vikings

By Viking Update Staff

Date: 3/20/2001

Matthew Hatchette never had a chance to see the light of day in the Vikings offense, playing behind Randy Moss and Cris Carter. With a two-year deal signed with the Jets Monday, Hatch will finally get his chance to be a starter and potentially reap the harvest.

As reported yesterday in VU, we had been told Matthew Hatchette would likely end his free agent tour of the league, since the Jets seemed eager to sign him. Monday, the Jets made it official.

The Jets signed Hatchette to a two-year deal, that starts with a base salary of a mere $500,000 a year, but has several incentive bonuses -- some easy to achieve, others not as easy -- that could push the two-year deal to more than $4 million if Hatchette delivers what the Jets want.

Since the trade of Keyshawn Johnson, the Jets have lacked the big receiver that the offense needed to take the heat off of Smurifian Wayne Chrebet. The Jets believe the 6-2 Hatchette will provide that difference. While Hatch is a welcomed addition, it likely won't change the Jets plans to draft a wide receiver on the first round of next month's draft, since New York is changing over to the West Coast Offense, which typically calls for several three- and four-receiver sets.

One thing the Jets have said is that their casting call for wide receivers is over for now. They like what they've seen in Hatchette and, as of now, he is penned in as a starter for the New Yorkers.

TUESDAY NOTES * A VU source with the NFL has said that the 2001 schedule is being prepared as of this reading and will be released in full on or about April 4. In the meantime, VU was leaked one crucial bit of information. The Vikings won't be strangers to Monday Night Football. The team is scheduled for two if not three MNF games, including one vs. Green Bay and traveling to Baltimore to face Brian Billick and the defending champion Ravens in Week 2 of the 2001 season. * Todd Steussie's tour of NFL cities may come to an end as early as today. Steussie was in Cincinnati Monday and is currently in Denver meeting with Broncos officials today. From what VU has been told by a source close to the Steussie camp, the feeling is that the free agent climate will be considerably better next year than it is now because of several teams forced up against the salary cap and that Steussie could very well sign a one-year deal with Denver as early as tomorrow and set himself up for a bigger payday next season. * As reported earlier in VU, defensive linemen Chester McGlockton (late of the Chiefs) and former Raven Keith Washington both visited Winter Park Monday. While either would be a welcome addition to the depleted middle of the Vikings defensive front, it isn't expected that an immediate signing will be made. However, VU has been told that if McGlockton is sold on the Vikings by coaches and players, that situation could change in a hurry. * The Vikings have offered Jake Reed a one-year, $500,000 deal to return to the team in 2001 and hook up with his former receiving peeps Carter and Moss. However, their may be a fly in the ointment. Reed lives in Dallas and the Cowboys, who lost WR James McKnight to free agency last week, are also willing to offer him a similar deal to stay close to home. However, without Troy Aikman at QB and the Cowboys in worse cap shape than the Vikings, the only thing that would prompt Reed to go to the Cowboys would be sheer greed. The Vikings still have a chance to get to the Super Bowl and, if Reed values the chance to get a ring more than saving a few thousand bucks by living close to home, he won't accept the Cowboys offer. The Saints, who cut Reed two weeks ago, have expressed an interest in bringing him back, but as the team's No. 4 receiver -- a big drop from his starting status last year and a pers

-- Mark (Karch, March 20, 2001

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