When the Vikings cut Chris Kluwe in May, making room for rookie punter Jeff Locke, the move attracted more headlines than a change at the position typically would. Kluwe had cultivated a high profile in Minnesota, largely due to his outspokenness on social issues, and there were plenty who felt the Vikings had grown tired of Kluwe's activism, even as special teams coordinator Mike Priefer insisted the move was because the team wanted someone who was better at pinning opponents deep in their own territory.
Kluwe quickly caught on with the Oakland Raiders, but now he's out of a job there, too, and there seems little doubt he lost out due to football-related reasons.
The punter tweeted his goodbyes to the Raiders after being cut on Sunday, as Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com notes, and Oakland will go with rookie Marquette King instead of Kluwe. The 31-year-old was due to make $1.45 million in Minnesota this year, and the Vikings' change at the position saved them money in addition to bringing in a punter more along the lines of what Priefer wanted at the position. And as ESPN.com's Bill Williamson notes, the Raiders rewarded King for a more consistent preseason than Kluwe had.
We'll see if the iconoclastic punter catches on somewhere else. The guess here is, he probably will. Punters have a way of resurfacing once another team has trouble at the position. But from last fall, when he became a noted national figure due to his support of same-sex marriage, to now, it's been a whirlwind year for Kluwe.
Here are the other Vikings stories of note today:
We took a deeper look at the Vikings' roster, which sits as something of a crossroads between the future and the present. And our Vikings season preview went live on the site, in conjunction with previews of the 31 other teams.
Vikings tackle Phil Loadholt, who stands 6-foot-8 and became one of the league's highest-paid right tackles in March, would prefer not to be noticed, writes Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Vikings will finally get to see what they're made of as they start the regular season, Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says.
A well-balanced and competitive NFC North should bring plenty of entertainment this season, according to Dave Campbell of the Associated Press.