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Spielman says Kluwe will get chance to compete

Locke Getty Images

Vikings punter Chris Kluwe fears his off-field causes will get him cut.  Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman disputes that.

“It has nothing to do with anything Chris Kluwe is off the field,” Spielman told reporters on Saturday, after the team used a fifth-round pick to acquire UCLA punter Jeff Locke.  “When we’re making decisions, we’re purely making them, trying to bring in the best competition possible regardless of position.  When we brought in the first three [first-round picks], we’re trying to create competition and see if they can upgrade us.  This was just another normal personnel move.  It had nothing to do with Chris Kluwe’s off-field concerns, I have no issues if Chris Kluwe wants to express his opinion, that’s his right, that’s his freedom of speech.  This is just a football decision to bring in a guy to come in to compete.”

Though we’ve got no reason to doubt Spielman, we wouldn’t expect him or any other G.M. to admit that a player’s off-field issues ans interests were a factor choosing his position as one at which competition will come from a draft pick.

Last year, the decision to draft kicker Blair Walsh resulted in Ryan Longwell being cut before training camp.  So will that happen again?

“I’m not going to comment on anything right now,” Spielman said in response to that question.  “Right now we just finished the draft and finished signing college free agents so we’ll sit down with the coaches and analyze where we’re at with everything.  But right now going forward, we expect that to be a competition.”

Still, Spielman needs to justify using a fifth-round pick on Locke.  If Kluwe wins the job and Locke gets cut, it will look like a wasted pick.

Of course, Spielman wouldn’t have made Locke the pick if Spielman didn’t like Locke.  And here’s why he does.

“One, the character,” Spielman said.  “Two, he’s a left footed punter, which helps.  Three, he’s a great directional kicker.  Four, he’s excellent at getting the ball inside the 20.  Very good holder, good athlete.  So those were all the things, once we got into our draft meetings and then like last year we sent Coach Priefer out and did numerous private workouts and came back.  When he came back and we were in our special-teams meetings he gave his input into it and then once we gathered all that information, that’s why we made the decision.”

Spielman explained that the different spin from a left-footed punter makes it harder for the return specialists.  And he shared a little trade secret:  “I know when we play teams that have left-footed punters, we always bring in a left footed punter for a workout that week just so our guys can get accustomed to that different spin.”

This year, chances are the Vikings will have to bring in a right-footed punter for a workout during the weeks they’re facing teams with right-footed punters.

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47 Responses to “Spielman says Kluwe will get chance to compete”
  1. inyofaceagain says: Apr 28, 2013 2:32 PM

    I’d rather see him cut.
    But if he truly gets a shot to compete expect the younger, fresher leg from UCLA to prevail.
    And expect Kluwe to claim he was thrown under the bus for his beliefs. I, for one, am not buying it.

  2. 28skins28 says: Apr 28, 2013 2:35 PM

    you cant have it both ways, if the 49ers can reprimand culliver for speaking his mind then the Vikings can reprimand or release kluwe for speaking his.

    You cant say a player can speak his mind without repricusions only if it is the popular opinion.

  3. logicalvoicesays says: Apr 28, 2013 2:36 PM

    Everytime I look at the Vikings, I think “Hmm…so that’s what it would be like if a 4 year old ran a franchise.” #ThankGodImaRedskinsfan

  4. blackandblue123 says: Apr 28, 2013 2:37 PM

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out Kluwe!

  5. filipinoviking says: Apr 28, 2013 2:39 PM

    BTW if you look at Jeff Locke’s twitter account he congratulated Kluwe on the marriage amendment defeat. So the (it must be about the gay thing) excuse is thin. It’s about $ & shanked punts. He’s inconsistent now.

  6. tokyosandblaster says: Apr 28, 2013 2:40 PM

    Spielman has proven–time and time again–that he is a straight shooter. Why wouldn’t we all believe him?

  7. veence69 says: Apr 28, 2013 2:41 PM

    Are we still talking about a punter schism?

  8. billbrasky72 says: Apr 28, 2013 2:43 PM

    Kluwe, you’re gonna lose. But hey, it was a good run man. Just hang your hat on the fact that you conned someone into paying you millions of dollars to drop-kick a ball.

  9. ad2k says: Apr 28, 2013 2:43 PM

    Exactly. No one in the entire Vikings organization has said anything about what Kluwe does in his own time. No one cares what he does in his own time. But leave it up to Kluwe to portray the Vikings as the bad guys in this situation. If he hadn’t shanked so many punts last year Locke would have never been drafted.

  10. navyeoddavee9 says: Apr 28, 2013 2:44 PM

    logical:better a 4 yr old running, the franchise, than having a 2 yr old, owning the franchise.

  11. jaketdogg says: Apr 28, 2013 2:49 PM

    This has everything to do with The Vikes needing the cap room to sign Karlos Dansby, and the fact that Kluwe had his best year statistically last year in terms of net average but just can’t pin teams inside the 20 yard line. AP either scored, took it deep into the red zone, , into field goal range, or they went 3 and out because Ponder is awful.

    Locke is also a punter who can kick off, which is rare. Special teams win or lose 3 games every year for a team, this pick was well played

  12. squared80 says: Apr 28, 2013 2:53 PM

    It’s not about his outspoken views, people. Heck, Minnesota is the most tolerant state in the country.

    As good as he’s been in the past, it’s simply about Chris Kluwe shanking every other punt for the last 2 years. ‘Nuff said.

  13. dino2997 says: Apr 28, 2013 2:58 PM

    Kluwe deserves extended time in pursuing his off the field causes. Why waste his time with this football business?

  14. football2011 says: Apr 28, 2013 2:58 PM

    Pro Football Focus is a website that analyzes the performance of all NFL Players every week.
    PFF rates punters on gross average, net average, number of punts inside the 20, number downed, number fair caught as well as maximum height and hang time.

    Last year, Chris Kluwe finished 25th out of 32 starting punters.

    That puts him in the BOTTOM 25% of punters in the league.

    This is especially bad since he punts at least 9 games per year indoors.

    His PFF ranking for the previous 4 years are:

    2008 3rd best
    2009 23rd best
    2010 14th best
    2011 14th best

    His average finish was 14th best punter between 2008 and 2011. An above average punter.

    No matter whether you like or hate him (I happen to like him for the record), this clearly shows he is slipping and didn’t do the job and needs to be given a serious wake up call or fired.

  15. inyofaceagain says: Apr 28, 2013 2:59 PM

    A couple days before the draft Kluwe was tweeting about the new Vikings uniforms, then mentioned something like “I might not get to ever wear it” This was before the draft. Sounds like he draws unnecessary attention to himself.
    Less tweeting / preaching more kicking / holding

  16. profootballwalk says: Apr 28, 2013 3:01 PM

    Kluwe is far from the worst punter in the league. Not even close. Look at the 2012 stats.

  17. johnelwayishorsefaced says: Apr 28, 2013 3:02 PM

    wow so you basically just delete anything I post even though there is no offensive content whatsoever? You guys are real classy. I visit this site a lot and click on a lot of stories but I’m done with you for a while. There’s plenty of other places to get football news.

  18. football2011 says: Apr 28, 2013 3:19 PM

    The numbers on Kluwe don’t lie. He was a bottom 25% punter last year and has slipped considerably in the past couple of years. See above.

  19. theclaim says: Apr 28, 2013 4:01 PM

    As a TRUE die hard Skins fan, I can tell you Logicalvoicesays is NOT a Redskins fan, he makes it a point to Troll every Redskins article. Vikings have MY respect. SKOL and Hail to the Redskins. Logical, what is your end goal? There is NO logic involved wit ANY of the posts you throw out. Vitriolic Rhetorical Drivel.

  20. kingknute says: Apr 28, 2013 4:06 PM

    Kluwe was not even watching the draft when the Vikes took Locke. He was in his mom’s garage recording his fourth album. Now he is tweeting: Does anybody know how to make a cassette into a CD?

  21. cwwgk says: Apr 28, 2013 4:19 PM

    The NFL just held its annual draft. A multitude of NFL players from last year will lose their jobs because of a 2013 draftee. It’s the nature of the industry. It happens EVERY year at EVERY position on EVERY team.

    But a punter feels singled out because of some self proclaimed ulterior motive by his team. Talk about narcissism. The absolute definition thereof.

    And then the media plays the role of enabler by giving the guy press since it happens to agree with him about a controversial social topic.

    Spielman has to “justify” using a draft pick on a football player? Really? What, do GM’s now have to establish politically neutral reasons for drafting players?

    The NFL is a private entity that operates a football league. It is not a think tank or lobbyist group which was established to effect social change.

    Despite what Mr. Kluwe and the author of this article apparently think. Both would be well served to remember this fact.

  22. rhusby28 says: Apr 28, 2013 5:02 PM

    Kluwe could do and say almost what ever he wants, untill he botched a bunch of punts last year. Now his band and activism will have people questioning his commitment to foorball.

  23. paulcanavati says: Apr 28, 2013 5:02 PM

    At the end of the day it comes down to kicking. That being said, Kluwe’s mouth is kind of annoying. I agree with his beliefs but he doesnt have to spend every waking minute yapping about it. With the trade of harvin and possible release of kluwe, you get no more loudmouths, and just a bunch of football guys. I like that

  24. cullimon says: Apr 28, 2013 5:11 PM

    This guy causes distractions, like TO or Ochocinco. Granted they are different problems, but problems none the less. The only reason NBC even cares about this punter is because he spoke up for gay rights.

  25. trojanwarrior007 says: Apr 28, 2013 5:23 PM

    you know things are bad when Kluwe’s fanboys over at reddit are starting to turn on him.

  26. filthymcnasty1 says: Apr 28, 2013 5:26 PM

    Why do the Vikings always lead the league in teen angst type drama?

  27. berrianthehatchet says: Apr 28, 2013 5:29 PM

    I like Kluwe, BUT, the Vikings have been quietly and publicly, reducing salary or flat out cutting veterans who can be replaced by younger cheaper guys. E.g. Antoine Winfield, EJ Henderson, Cedric Griffin and Kevin Williams, etc… Also next year Jared Allen will be cut too. Kluwe is due to make something in the neighborhood of 1.5-2 million next season. For a punter, that’s huge money. If they replace him for someone with comparable or better skills for something like 40ok they’ll do it. There’s no more player loyalty in the NFL these days (see Peyton Manning) They give contracts with no intent on ever fulfilling the back end of deals. This is where Kluwe is caught in the “business” end of the NFL and he has acknowledged that fact.

  28. johnnyjagfan says: Apr 28, 2013 5:40 PM

    The way Spielman rattled off several specific points about this rookie’s talent, smarts, being a holder, having had private workouts for him–he’s the new punter. Kluwe is done as a Viking. They did their homework because if they cut Kluwe for a poor replacement or some random FA, it could appear to be the off-the-field stuff drove the decision.

  29. catquick says: Apr 28, 2013 6:02 PM

    I won’t miss Klueless. His politicking is tiring. He’s thinking more about his post career options than today. Lets hope he fades away. I just want to watch football.

  30. 6kings says: Apr 28, 2013 6:23 PM

    The reason he is out is he shanked a game away last year.

  31. kingpel says: Apr 28, 2013 6:36 PM

    Rams did the same thing last year. Out with the old and in with the cheap!

  32. bballnut50 says: Apr 28, 2013 6:51 PM

    filthymcnasty1-because we learn from that best at Drama…chessehead central….

  33. whatjusthapped says: Apr 28, 2013 6:54 PM

    The Vikings better be careful because they don’t want to even appear like they are against this gay rights issue, its liable to piss off about half their fan base, not that there is anything wrong with that.

  34. 27xplayoffs says: Apr 28, 2013 7:11 PM

    Ridiculous, after AD and Jared, he’s their most consistent performer.

  35. filthymcnasty1 says: Apr 28, 2013 7:32 PM

    Hopefully the new punter will be as tolerant towards the alternative lifestyles of Viking fans as Kluwe was.

  36. mediasloppy says: Apr 28, 2013 7:56 PM

    kingknute says:

    Apr 28, 2013 4:06 PM
    Kluwe was not even watching the draft when the Vikes took Locke. He was in his mom’s garage recording his fourth album. Now he is tweeting: Does anybody know how to make a cassette into a CD?
    —————–
    As a matter of fact. Kluwe was at the Draft party when this kid got picked. He even tweeted about how it’s a special day for Locke being picked in the draft.

    It’s idiotic posts that are starting to Turn PFT into a second class website for all things football.

  37. skylander14 says: Apr 28, 2013 8:03 PM

    Seems like too many people are focused on Kluwe’s politics instead of his ability to punt. I think he is a solid punter but was a little bit disappointing the past couple seasons. He likely won’t be out of a job that long but the Vikings are likely going to head in another direction. Their Special teams coach doesn’t seem to be a fan of Kluwe and he is paid quite a bit.

  38. bagadeez04 says: Apr 28, 2013 8:28 PM

    Wanna know why NFL teams want to know if a player is gay?

    Cause if they were to ever get released they’ll immediately pull the “They released me cause I’m gay” card.

    I don’t blame teams one bit for being concerned about that happening, and wanting to nip it in the bud by not drafting a gay player in the first place.

    Who wants to deal with that media nightmare? No matter what the circumstances, the media will paint the team as bigots etc. There is no winning against the “victim culture” within our society today.

  39. threedeep1998 says: Apr 28, 2013 9:49 PM

    “Kluwe was not even watching the draft when the Vikes took Locke. He was in his mom’s garage recording his fourth album. Now he is tweeting: Does anybody know how to make a cassette into a CD?”

    —————

    If his Mom’s basement is “Flowers Studio” in Minneapolis than he’s got one cool mom. He was working with one of the coolest underground engineers in the country.

    Also – 49ers can get Culliver in trouble because what he says is offensive. NFL, like any business, is equal opportunity employment. Can’t judge against race, religion, sexual preference etc. Can’t get in trouble for having a player be all about accepting GLBT community.

  40. frymn810 says: Apr 28, 2013 11:13 PM

    Lets face it Kluwe is good but do you really want a 30 something punter who will make $2 Mil…Locke is typical Spielman, bring in the young cheap option before the contract year comes up….

  41. hashtagfaith says: Apr 28, 2013 11:23 PM

    This competition will be similar to the competition between a hammer and a nail. Byyyyyyyye

  42. kevinwi says: Apr 29, 2013 12:49 AM

    They are bringing in a RF punter…they have him already signed…his name is TJ Conely

  43. corvusrex96 says: Apr 29, 2013 7:06 AM

    The ravens cut a 36 yr old special teams player but since he was ” outspoken ” the media had to scrutinize it . Maybe being outspoken is a way for specialty players to stick around longer on a team

  44. 27xplayoffs says: Apr 29, 2013 10:02 AM

    Then why did you waste a 5th round pick on a punter?

    After the first round, this was not a great draft. They hit it out of the park in the 1st, although as I learn more I’m afraid they may have given too much away for Patterson, but maybe he will be the difference maker that they obviously think he is…

  45. 2manyconcussions says: Apr 29, 2013 10:18 AM

    If this was the Jets, we’d have to watch this punter controversy play out through the summer. Fortunately, outside of a few hundred people no one cares that much what Kluwe has to say. A mediocre punter gets replaced by a better, younger, cheaper one. Big deal. Move on.

  46. technovike says: Apr 29, 2013 3:32 PM

    “Spielman needs to justify using a fifth-round pick on Locke”

    Needs to Justify? Because your part owner of the franchise?

    5th and 6th rounders get cut all the time.

    Justifying Ponder as a starter however……

  47. v1k1ngs says: Apr 29, 2013 3:57 PM

    Kluwe did not throw the Vikings under the bus. He was contacted about whether or not he thought the Vikings would be cutting him based on his outspokenness for first amendment rights and same-sex marriage. He basically answered with I hope not, especially since there are players who are doing much worse things, like getting arrested. All along, Kluwe has stated that there is always a chance he, and any other player, may be cut. That is the nature of the business and he understands that. Of course he hopes that if he does get cut, it is because of skill, not activism, and made the mistake of answering that honestly. I think we all know how words can be taken out of context. If you follow him on Twitter, you should know that he has a lot of respect for the Vikings and MN. He has also shown a lot of support for Locke.

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