Jun 11, 2013; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer gets ready for the Minnesota Vikings Minicamp at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings have yet to issue any kind of statement responding to Chris Kluwe’s incendiary allegations about the behavior of special teams coach Mike Priefer, former head coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman during the tortured waning months of Kluwe’s tenure as Vikings punter.
Not surprisingly, no one at Winter Park is in any particular hurry to defend Priefer, whom Kluwe paints as a shameless bigot in his Deadspin article. Nor are they rushing to refute Kluwe’s claims. At least not until all the lawyers are called in.
Truth be told, I think there’s a decent chance the Vikings won’t say anything about any of it. Priefer will quietly be allowed to seek employment elsewhere and that will be that.
So far, the only one even remotely connected with the Vikings who is willing to say anything about Priefer is Paul Allen, the team’s radio voice.
Allen is known as a Vikings homer (though, in truth, he is capable of criticizing the team from time to time). He has also been a vocal Mike Priefer booster over the years.
Rather than take the easy way out and ignore the controversy, Allen did the stand-up thing. He went on Twitter and talked about his relationship with both Priefer and Chris Kluwe.
“In all my private chats w/ #Vikings STC Mike Priefer he never once uttered anything racist or bigoted. As a football coach he’s top-notch,” Allen said.
“I base my relationships w/ people — @ChrisWarcraft [Kluwe] & Mike Priefer — off how they treat me, and I have had great relationships w/ both.
“If I felt Mike Priefer was a ‘bigot’ there’s zero chance I would endore him publicly the way I do. My stance based on production/knowledge.”
Kluwe’s allegations against Priefer mostly revolve around statements Priefer made in meetings and practices, so Allen would not have been around to hear Priefer’s remarks.
Allen delicately tip-toes around the controversy, sticking up for a guy he obviously considers a friend while avoiding flat-out refutation of Kluwe’s statements.
Clearly Allen felt he needed to say something, and I respect him for being willing to put himself out there. We’ll see if Zygi Wilf, Rick Spielman or anyone else connected with the Vikings have anything to say themselves.
I bet they just weasel their way through it. At least Paul Allen has some stones. He stuck up for his guy as much as prudence would allow. Props to him. He could have said nothing.