Waiving Kluwe due to salary, change in gamePublished 10:21am Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The Minnesota Vikings have opted to go for it — waiving punter Chris Kluwe, that is.
After eight seasons with the Vikings, the outspoken player was given his walking papers in favor of a younger and cheaper version in UCLA punter Jeff Locke.
The Vikings selected Locke in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, basically putting the writing on the wall for No. 5.
Kluwe’s punting was only overshadowed by his stances on marriage equality and the push to elect punter Ray Guy into the Hall of Fame.
Looking at this from an outside perspective, I have to believe that Vikings’ General Manager Rick Spielman cut loose Kluwe due to his $1.45 million contract, not his stances off the field.
In watching the NFL most of my life, the move towards a pass heavy, spread offense over a run-oriented or balanced style of play has become apparent. This has made positions such as middle linebacker, traditional defensive linemen, run-only runningbacks, fullbacks and now — punters, an expendable option.
Older football fans will remember the importance of hangtime and coffin corners from punters. But having a punter that can do these things has gone out the door. The field position game, a traditional football strategy, has made way for the New Orleans Saints/Green Bay Packers outscoring emphasis. Neither of these teams have been known for the defense in the last few years, but have been on top on offense statistically and, more importantly, in the win column.
Kluwe’s departure has come with both cheers and jeers. Local fans have expressed sadness because of the loss of a fun-loving and charismatic player, while others couldn’t wait to push him out the door after commenting on such a hot button topic such as marriage equality.
If I had to chose a side to be on, I would say that I will miss Kluwe. He never criticized the Vikings, he donated to charity and he was another character in the locker room. These are traits that Minnesota fans love about their athletes, whether it be Jared Allen, Zach Parise or Joe Mauer.
Kluwe didn’t have any hard feelings when he left tweeting, “So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish! Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past eight and a half years. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”
Good luck, Chris.