When the Minnesota Vikings paid a $500,000 roster bonus to kicker Ryan Longwell in March, that made him feel secure in his job. But on the same day they paid him that bonus, Longwell did find out he was losing half his job.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com reports that the Vikings called Longwell to say they were trying to sign kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd on the same day they gave Longwell the $500,000 bonus that pretty well ensured they expected him to keep handling the field goal duties. Longwell says he finds it strange that kickoffs have been taken from him.
“It’s odd,” Longwell said. “As I’ve told all of you guys it wasn’t like I asked to not do it and it’s not like I prefer not doing it. It’s definitely something that I’ve never had to deal with before. We kicked off yesterday and I was with the [second] team. It’s just something that you’ve got to kind of take it a day at a time and we have a long ways between now and the final roster and we have a long ways between now and the 45-[man] active roster. So you just kind of let it play out and see how it goes.”
But while Longwell thinks it’s odd, the fact is that Lloyd has a stronger leg than Longwell on kickoffs, while Longwell is more accurate than Lloyd on field goals. As long as the Vikings are comfortable using one roster spot on a field goal kicker and another on a kickoff kicker, there’s really nothing odd about the move at all.