VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Betting Tools

Kluwe says he's been released by Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Vikings released punter Chris Kluwe on Monday, bringing an end to his colorful and outspoken eight-year stay in Minnesota.

Kluwe announced the news on Twitter shortly after meeting with Vikings GM Rick Spielman, a move that had been expected ever since the team spent a fifth-round draft pick on punter Jeff Locke at the end of last month.

Kluwe said he knew what was bound to happen as soon as he saw Locke come off the board and he was pleased to get his release earlier enough in the summer to give him a chance to catch on with another team.

``If that was the direction the Vikings wanted to go, it gives me a better chance to go to another team,'' Kluwe said in a phone conversation on Monday evening.

The 31-year-old Kluwe averaged 44.4 yards per punt over his career in Minnesota, including a career-high 39.7 yard net average last season.

But he ranked just 17th in the NFL in punting and was due to make $1.45 million this season, making him a prime target to be cut. He said he thinks he has four or five good years left in his playing career before he heads off to other endeavors, of which there are sure to be many.

During his time with the Vikings, Kluwe earned a reputation as one of the most opinionated players in the league. He criticized union leadership during the lockout, wore a patch on his uniform to protest the lack of punters in the Hall of Fame and, most notably, became a vocal supporter of gay rights, penning a number of thoughtful, and occasionally profane, columns on the issue for various websites. He also plays in a rock band in his spare time and is an avid video gamer.

``Whenever I was in the locker room or on the football field, I was focused entirely on football,'' Kluwe said. ``It was my one and only focus. When I left the locker room to go home, I lived my life.''

Kluwe's release means the league's two most vocal advocates for gay rights are now out of work. Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was cut by Baltimore in April.

Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made it clear later last season that Kluwe's headline-grabbing nature was wearing thin with him. When Kluwe was fined more than $5,000 for putting a message reading ``Vote Ray Guy'' over a patch on his jersey commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in December, Priefer voiced his displeasure.

``Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you,'' Priefer said. ``Do I think Ray Guy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. But there's other ways of going about doing it, in my opinion.''

Kluwe said he couldn't say for sure if his off-the-field pursuits contributed to his release.

``I don't know,'' he said. ``I wasn't in those meetings.''

When the Vikings drafted Locke, Spielman was asked if Kluwe's outspoken nature would factor at all into the decision to keep him or cut him.

``I have no issues if Chris Kluwe wants to express his opinion,'' Spielman said then. ``That's his right. That's his freedom of speech. This is just a football decision to bring in a guy and come in and compete.''

In the end, Kluwe didn't get much of a chance to compete. Locke attended the team's first rookie camp over the weekend, and Kluwe was out a few days later.

It was a move similar to last season when the Vikings drafted kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round and quickly released the more experienced, and more expensive, Ryan Longwell.

``So sorry to hear about (Kluwe's release) of the best legs I've seen and best teammates I had in all my years,'' Longwell tweeted. ``Do you believe in deja vu??''

Also factoring into the decision is the Vikings will be playing their final season in the Metrodome before moving outdoors to the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank stadium while their new stadium is built. Kluwe seemed to have a more difficult time punting outdoors and the Vikings hope the move to the younger Locke will help them in that area.

The Vikings also waived rookie receiver Nicholas Edwards and signed two other rookie free agents - Minnesota State, Mankato receiver Adam Thielen and Northern Iowa tackle Brandon Keith.


Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter:

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Rain doesn't dampen Darnold's Pro Day
Entire NFL draft to air on network TV
Vikings re-sign kicker Kai Forbath
Eagles make offer to undecided Long
Titans S Byard goes 1-on-1 with Sanders
Cowboys agree to deal with LB Joe Thomas
Clayborn joins Pats to bolster pass rush
RB Michael re-signs with Colts
Raiders ink free agent LB Emmanuel Lamur
Why Buy Picks From
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records Gold Membership
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 2145
Gary Bart + 1530
Paul Bovi + 1386
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mark Franco + 200
Hank Goldberg + 200
Bill Marzano + 191
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Zack Cimini 62 %
Pat Hawkins 59 %
KellyInVegas 59 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 1557
Scott Rickenbach + 1469
Paul Bovi + 987
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 668
Stephen Nover + 563
Vince Akins + 532
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bill Marzano + 531
Jimmy Boyd + 420
Dave Cokin + 400
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership