Chris Kluwe Released By Vikings

Outspoken punter Chris Kluwe has been released by the Minnesota Vikings.

Kluwe, who has become well-known for his pro-gay rights stance, has been with the Vikings for more than 8 years. The punter made the announcement this morning on Twitter, writing: “Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years … I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”

The Vikings have not confirmed Kluwe’s release yet.

Kluwe, 31, averaged 4.4 yards per punt during his time with the Vikings. He was scheduled to make $1.45 million this coming season which was apparently too expensive for the Vikings. The team will most likely be using fifth round pick, Jeff Locke, as its punter in 2013.

Kluwe’s release from the Vikings seems to be completely budgetary but some have noted that the punter’s outspoken views have rubbed some people the wrong way in Minnesota. Kluwe criticized union leadership during the lockout, wore a patch in support of getting more punters in the hall of fame, and has argued with several politicians about gay rights.

Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said last season that Kluwe’s off-the-field behavior was becoming a bit of a distraction.

Priefer told the Washington Post: “Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you … Do I think Ray Guy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. But there’s other ways of going about doing it, in my opinion.”

General Manager Rick Spielman, however, told reporters after the draft that Kluwe’s tendency to speak his mind would not effect the team’s decision.

Spielman said: “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 and come in and compete.”

After Locke was drafted, Kluwe seemed acknowledged that his time in Minnesota could quickly becoming to an end. The punter told the Washington Times that his outspoken ways could cost him his job but it was something that he was willing to risk.

Kluwe said: “I think the sacrifice would be worth it … But if it ends up being something that costs me that position, I think making people aware of an issue that is causing children to commit suicide is more important than kicking a leather ball.”

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