Are the Vikings about to “Ryan Longwell” Chris Kluwe? Things could be moving in that direction. Intrepid ESPN journalist Kevin Seifert put the story together from a couple of tweets. Last week, apparently, the Vikings brought in LSU punter Brad Wing for a work out. According to Wing’s tweet, the workout went well. As Seifert pointed out, working out a punter is not normal. You wouldn’t do that unless you were actively thinking about drafting a punter. If you’re happy with your punter, you don’t bother.
Where does this leave Chris Kluwe? Well if the Vikes do draft Wing, obviously Kluwe is toast. It would be the same situation as last year when the Vikes took Blair Walsh in the 6th round, then turned around and cut Ryan Longwell. Cutting Kluwe would actually be easier than cutting Longwell was last year. Longwell was dumped despite signing an extension not long before, an odd turn of events to be sure. Kluwe on the other hand is already in the last year of his contract and therefore much more vulnerable. Remember that the Vikes have already signed one punter, T.J. Conley, to a reserve/futures deal.
Frankly, I think there’s a decent chance the Vikes dump Kluwe even if they don’t draft Wing. It’s clear some people in the organization are not thrilled with Kluwe’s status as a media darling. Mike Preifer last year ripped Kluwe after his highly-publicized Ray Guy decal stunt. Overall the Vikes are kind of a straight-laced corporate outfit and probably the front office is just instinctively averse to Kluwe’s controversial maverick nature. The suits don’t dig the rebel.
Drafting Wing, or some other punter, is probably plan A for the Vikes. Plan B would be using Conley. Plan C would be sticking with Kluwe for one more year and hoping his crusading doesn’t distract him from punting too much.
If this is the end for Kluwe? It was a fun ride. That’s not the kind of thing you often say in connection with a punter. Normally you don’t care about those guys at all. Kluwe somehow made being a punter cool. That’s an accomplishment.