Vikings special teams coach felt “very strongly” about need to change punters


With the drafting of Jeff Locke in the fifth round of the NFL Draft in April, it seemed the writing was on the wall that Chris Kluwe’s time with the Minnesota Vikings was coming to an end. After eight seasons serving as the team’ punter, the Vikings released Kluwe in May.

According to Tom Pelissero of, special teams coach Mike Priefer felt “very strongly” the Vikings needed to go in another direction.

“I just felt like we needed to make a change there,” Priefer said.

The change was easier to make once the Vikings selected Locke. After getting a chance to see Locke during the Vikings’ rookie mini-camp, the team made the decision to release Kluwe. He later signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders.

Priefer called Kluwe “a distraction” last season after he wore a “Vote Ray Guy” patch over the league’s 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame patches for a game in December. Combined with his outspokenness in support of the LGBT community, it seemed as though the reasons for replacing Kluwe could have been more due to his off-field actions than his on-field performance. But Priefer said that wasn’t the case.

“I have a lot of respect for Chris Kluwe,” Priefer said. “I think, based on what he’s done in his career, as a man and as an athlete, and for anybody that stands up for what he believes in like Chris did, I have a lot of respect for guys like that.”

In the end, Priefer said the Vikings were seeking “more consistency and productivity” from the position.

23 responses to “Vikings special teams coach felt “very strongly” about need to change punters

  1. ehh he was preeeeetty good Preifer. Besides for a few botched kicks I think Kluwe was above average in his time with Minny. Look how fast he got another job! As far as it being a business I guess he was a distraction and those guys dont fit too well in the league, guys like Tebow. Anyway, good luck Kluwe and keep doing you

  2. Right….because he is just gonna come out (no pun intended) and say the real reason they cut him….

  3. mole hill into a mountain, Chris Crab tree.
    Beating a dead horse with hope it awakes is all you’re doing.
    Isn’t there some sort of patsy TE under investigation for murder one?
    (more, pleaseeee?)

  4. Kluwe is more suited to be a politician rather than a football player. He is more worried about getting mic time(ala Rex Ryan)than doing his job. Probably best for his health to be out of the game cause it was just a matter of time before others got tired of his unsolicited beliefs and decided to thump on him

  5. Wow, he wore a pacth, but AP was arrested. And Kluwe was the distraction? Double standard? Which may explain a few things.

  6. Another story about a punter. Well, anyways, back to some serious stuff, the vikings are mediocre at best. Adriane Peterson will be solid but you can’t go far in this league without a well balanced offense, like the Colts. Look for the Vikings to finish third or 4th in their division next year as the other teams in their division become healthier and make key position improvements.

  7. In the end, Priefer said the Vikings were seeking “more consistency and productivity” from the position.


    Good thing they don’t need any of that stuff from their noodle armed QB.

  8. Priefer is right. Kluwe was a distraction, and his performance on the field was not up to par. His poor punting cost the team the game against Tampa last year, and his inconsistent performance in other games didn’t help.

    Truth is, Kluwe is a media hog, and loves the attention. We first saw this back in 2008, when after failing to follow orders and punt the ball OB against the Saints (resulting in 2 Reggie Bush TDs), Brad Childress publicly blasted Kluwe. Instead of taking this like a man and going back to work to get better, Kluwe publicly complained about how hard it was to punt OB. Since then Kluwe has used the gay marriage issue and Ray Guy to draw more attention to himself.

    So yes, Kluwe was a distraction, and combined with his subpar performance, his release was justified. I’m sure Kluwe will have something to say about all this in his upcoming column that his buddy Peter King is allowing him to write in his place.

    I hope he’s learned a lesson from this, but I doubt it.

  9. The previous year he had the same opinion about Ryan Longwell, and that worked out. The Vikings have learned when to move on from a player before it’s too late. If only they would have known that before Favre’s second season.

  10. I call BS. We live in a world where people believe their employees and subordinates should be seen and not heard. It is already believed by many majority that minorities should do the same, just not voice their opinions. Klewe was 20th in yards (teams that punt more had more yards), 22nd in avg with 45 ypp (which isn’t bad), 17th in net with 39.7 (so his special teams avg not even 6 yds per return), 18/2 (inside the 20 to touchbacks).

    He wasn’t a bad punter. What it came down to is coaches/management on his team wanted him to shut up and be seen and not heard, and that wasn’t him so they cut him. Damned shame. We’ll see next year when the punter they drafted averages less than he did. Locke averaged 2 fewer yards in college than Klewe did last year.

  11. How is wearing a small patch a distraction?
    The two didn’t like each other and that’s why he’s glad that he’s gone.
    Some of the meathead comments on this thread almost make me embarrassed to be a football fan. You cro mags need to step into this century. I hate that so many football fans are such backward thinking people and that the rest of us get grouped in with you people as “dumb football fans”.

  12. tdk24 says:
    Jun 20, 2013 8:10 AM
    Wow, he wore a pacth, but AP was arrested. And Kluwe was the distraction? Double standard? Which may explain a few things.
    You do realize that the charges to Peterson were dropped and it was determined the cops were out of line, right? No double standard at all.

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