The news today was supposed to be all about the House stadium vote. But that changed abruptly mid-afternoon when it was announced that the Vikings had cut long-time kicker Ryan Longwell.
The first indication of Longwell’s departure came from Longwell himself. “To all in Viking Nation. Can’t thank you enough for your cheers over the past 6 years! You’ve been awesome to me and my family. God Bless!” the kicker tweeted. That message caused buzz to the say the least. Moments later the beat reporters confirmed all the speculation created by the tweet. Longwell was out after six years with Minnesota.
When you really think about it though, maybe we shouldn’t be that surprised. The Vikings did use a sixth round draft pick on Blair Walsh, and teams don’t normally spend a pick on a kicker unless they plan on using him. Keep in mind also that, after years of being super-reliable, Longwell did miss a few relatively easy kicks in 2011. There was also the issue of Longwell’s length on kickoffs, a problem that led the Vikings to flirt with the idea of carrying a kickoff specialist for a time two seasons ago.
Despite the questions about the 38-year-old Longwell, it was assumed there would at least be a competition in camp this year. But now that question is settled. Rookie Blair Walsh will kick for the Vikings in 2012 while Ryan Longwell looks for work elsewhere.