Jeff Dugan said it well in his statement upon hearing the news of his release: “In the end the reaper is going to come for everybody and it was just my time.”
Today the time came for Dugan and fellow Viking veteran fixture Heath Farwell. Dugan was actually thought to be fairly safe after the Vikings dumped fullbacks Ryan D’Imperio and Matt Asiata, the thinking being that Dugan and Jim Kleinsasser could pick up reps at fullback along with their tight end work, but obviously the coaching staff had different ideas.
The Farwell release is less surprising given his inflated 2011 cap number and the fact that, with the new kickoff rules, return team specialists like him are not valued as highly as in previous years.
These two moves also make it clear that the Vikings are committed to getting younger. The Farwell release opens the door for UDFA Larry Dean to make the squad as a back-up linebacker/special teamer, while Dugan’s dismissal clears a spot for UDFA Allen Reisner (though the Vikings could still opt to use Dugan’s slot on a free agent fullback and slip the talented Reisner onto the practice squad).
A lot of fans are probably feeling a little pang of sadness over the losses of these two well-liked blue-collar guys, but the truth is that neither man had huge value on the team. The younger players taking their places have a lot of promise, and I think the time was right for both Dugan and Farwell to move on.