The expected move has indeed happened. Chris Kluwe has been let go by the Minnesota Vikings. Jeff Locke, who was taken in the fifth round of this year’s draft, will be the punter. Kluwe tweeted after his exit physical, “So long Minnesota and thanks for all the fish.” He then added:
Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 6, 2013
A sad sad day for fans. I mean that. Kluwe is a true character in a sport that is sadly devoid of true characters. In my years as a Viking fan, Kluwe has to rank as one of the most colorful and entertaining players. Up there with guys like John Randle and Randy Moss.
Some people will unleash conspiracy theories around Kluwe’s release. They will say he was cut because Mike Priefer disagrees with his politics. They will say the buttoned-down corporate Vikings front office was made too nervous by his many stances on political and social issues. Or maybe he was just cut because he was owed $1.45 million. And he wasn’t that good of a punter anymore.
Maybe that’s all it was.
But there will always be questions. As for the on-field stuff? Jeff Locke is now the punter. That role is especially important to a team like the Vikings who play more of a ball-control style. Controlling field position is huge for a team that wants to go the running-and-defense route. This isn’t going to be an explosive big-play team as long as Christian Ponder is QB. That’s a fact. So the punter matters.
Oh and just a question. What happened to that open punter competition? Seems like Kluwe never got his turn. Oh well. Onward…