Vikings throw Chris Kluwe under the bus while confirming his release

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Vikings.com: Chris Kluwe is old and not that good. But we wish him the best.
This afternoon, Vikings.com published a rather curious piece confirming the release of beloved punter Chris Kluwe.

SEE ALSO: Chris Kluwe says, "So long, Minnesota"

As you'd expect, it contains the usual "we wish Chris and his family the best and thank him for his contributions to the Vikings organization." But it also contains a couple paragraphs where the team seems to throw Kluwe under the bus for being (relatively) old and not performing up to par the past two seasons.

From the story, which was written by Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall:
While Kluwe did register a career best 39.7 net average in 2012, that was only good enough to rank 17th in the NFL. The Vikings also ranked just 31st in punts inside the 20 (18) and 20th in gross average (45.0). Kluwe's totals for punts inside the 20 and opponents fair catches decreased for the 2nd consecutive year. Also, the last time the Vikings ranked in the Top 10 in gross average, net average or punts inside the 20 was 2010 (In20: T-5th; net average: 9th). [sic]

Those factors combined with the fact that Kluwe will be 31 and will be entering his 9th season in 2013 led the Vikings to explore the idea of adding competition to the position, similar to what they did a year ago in adding Blair Walsh to the roster.
That's a rather defensive note to strike in a web post announcing the release of a respected veteran player, isn't it?

Then again, given the uniquely controversial nature of Kluwe's release, perhaps team officials felt more compelled than usual to be direct and explicit about the reasons they're moving on.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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49 comments
MattyK
MattyK

Some people want to see homophobia behind every bush and under every tea cup. Keep looking. Its just not here.

No team builds a franchise around punters. They come and go all the time, especially average ones. Kluwe was going to be paid far more than the average punter to perform below average. 

Kent Klinger
Kent Klinger

Guess what Arm Chair Football Fans. He is no Ray Guy and Punters are a dime a dozen. I don't see anything in the statement that says Homo lovers are not welcome.

Dan Hatfield
Dan Hatfield

average punt position? you can only kick it so far...

Matt Rice
Matt Rice

glad to see him gone. he was a clown.

vanillaviks
vanillaviks

There's something to be said for character and flaire when comparing relatively equivelent punters. I will miss him. I think "family values" as defined by Vikings owners could very well be part of the equation.  Bottom line, his skills can be replaced and his comments could have sent owners shopping for punters who shut up and do their job. Maybe the people who paid for the stadium should get to vote.

Brian Wierima
Brian Wierima

Oh I did Lloyd....$1.4 million is a sizable salary for an average punter Lloyd...his speaking on gay marriage had nothing to do with it Lloyd...his declining and mediocre stats had everything to do with it Lloyd...the Vikings have paid players as top 5 in the NFL at their position many times over when that said player has signed their contract, Lloyd....Allen, Peterson, Favre, Loadholt, Kevin Williams, Antoine Winfield - who was released because of age and huge salary...this isn't your choir practice, Lloyd, it's the NFL where performance means 99-percent of your job..you want articulate players on your team, go watch chess Lloyd...no one cares about chess, Lloyd...it's about winning Lloyd...that's why Kluwe is no longer a Viking...

Naomi Lund
Naomi Lund

I'll miss Kluwe on and off field. The "Raging Cockmonster" letter will live on in glorious infamy and I will forever love him for it.

Jeff Cagle
Jeff Cagle

I love the Vikings, but even I see some smoke in this.

Melissa Mj
Melissa Mj

At least he is intelligent enough to actually work a job in the real world. So there's his backup plan.

southmpls86
southmpls86

Again, City Pages trying to disguise themselves as a news source.

Adam Bertoni
Adam Bertoni

When did stating facts as part of a legitimate reason turn into throwing someone under the bus? Do you think other teams don't have access to this information? lol

Dee Finkelson
Dee Finkelson

agree with Mark. Now can they just play football n win trophy n not involving themselves with politic issues.

Lisa Andrews
Lisa Andrews

Very classy Vikes. No wonder your team sucks so bad no onr cares anymore.

Shawn Kuiper
Shawn Kuiper

The stats say it all, why do we try to create controversy to create news these days? I am certain the Vikings took every effort to make sure it was clear why he was released because they are a business and the same rules apply to them as any other business they can't fire an employee for their personal views for the most part... The same people making this a conspiracy are the ones inflating this into more then it is or he was... He was just a punter, that's all one of the least valuable players on the field during the game they wanted younger, stronger, cheaper so what that happens daily in all areas of life move along now...

Mary Ledingham
Mary Ledingham

Thanks Vikes... Just one more reason to not give a crap about you this year.

geie020
geie020

Those numbers don't lie. If you want to think the Vikes canned Kluwe for his opinions go for it, but the fact is his numbers were getting worse while his paycheck got bigger (along with his age). 

Ryan Coleman
Ryan Coleman

Paul: The Metrodome was configured the same way. Except the Vikings got all the suite revenue FROM TWINS GAMES. How messed up is that? We started this era of a "privileged" Vikings business and we should have put a stop to it. But, no, we did not. I think the GOP got that one little piece right in fighting the stadium proposal for four years... about the only thing they did right (but I am not going to get into a debate on party politics).

David Lloyd
David Lloyd

You didn't read what I wrote at all, did you Wierima.

Paul Walker
Paul Walker

Thanks Ryan. Clearly YOU unlike Dustin actually knows how the financing was setup.

Brian Wierima
Brian Wierima

Funny statement Lloyd...since the Vikes have always paid their contributors top dollar since the Wilfs were here...unlike the other pro sports team run by the billionaire Pohlads...You obviously know nothing of Spielman...

Zane Spang
Zane Spang

The vikings still suck regardless.

Ryan Coleman
Ryan Coleman

Rent? My ***. As I recall it the owners of the TEAM get 100% of the revenues from concessions and suites. And their refusal to hold demolishing the dome for *6* weeks to let the PEOPLE use it for one last winter of baseball? Bush league. I hear the Dakotas want a pro team - I suggest Ziggy move.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd

Kluwe was only getting $1.4 million and if he hadn't said anything about gay marriage or the like he probably wouldn't have been cut. I get that business is business and statistically this is not unusual. But the press release says it all. And wanting your player to have no opinions is pretty much universal in the NFL. I would rather have an intelligent, well spoken team member than another bot. Or worse, a lengthy criminal record.

Damian Amberg
Damian Amberg

How is this throwing him under the bus? Those are the facts.. aging player, low ranking.. they've fired more players for less.

cruhland
cruhland

The personal life angle is compelling, but this seems like Mitch Berger all over again (declining and pricey vet).

Bill Nolan
Bill Nolan

OK, so then "adding competition to the position" is inaccurate, at least. Since there was none.

dianerollie
dianerollie

Only problem with letting an established punter go is no one knows if the new kid coming out of college can punt in the NFL.  Relying on a rookie punter might backfire big time!  Then again, our biggest problem is we still don't have a reliable quarterback.

T.S.Moody
T.S.Moody

Sometimes CityPages is no better than FoxNews, in terms of blowharted reporting.

Paul Walker
Paul Walker

Riiiiight Dustin. Just like that gambling money was coming in as forecast. LOL...You'll believe anything.

Ross Levine
Ross Levine

"I dont see what all the talk is about, they would have given him the boot a long time ago if it had much to do with his outspokenness. He didnt really deserve to stay on the team when you look at his statistics" Yeah, which is what these "suspicious" and defensive paragraphs being pointed out explains...again, I am sensing this odd out of place urge to look for pink elephants. I think we can all just be happy that as a state he will still be one of our neighbors and not needlessly (and poorly might I add) point out conspiracy to something no one would have paid any mind to and would have happened anyway if not for his relatively recent new found limelight as a social commentator. And besides, given his lack of fear about what others think, don't you think Kluwe himself would a have said something if he was getting a raw deal?

Dustin Haning
Dustin Haning

The state gets full ownership of the stadium, gets to collect rent from the Vikings for 30 years, and got the Vikings to pay for half of it. You have no understanding of the deal if you really believe that.

Ryan Coleman
Ryan Coleman

Yeah, uh huh. Veiled political statement comes to mind. And a not-so-subtle reminder that NFL stands for NOT Football League.

Dustin Haning
Dustin Haning

The kid impressed them enough in rookie camp that there wasn't a need for a competition. It's exactly the same thing that happened last year with Ryan Longwell and Blair Walsh. I think that worked out ok, don't you?

Mark Fangmeier
Mark Fangmeier

"Thrown under the bus" is being a bit overly dramatic. He wasn't a very good punter last year and he's getting paid twice the average salary of an NFL punter. The decision was football/business-based. Nothing else.

Dustin Haning
Dustin Haning

Yeah, I mean it's not like he just gave $9 million a year to Greg Jennings or anything.

Dustin Haning
Dustin Haning

This is becoming much ado about nothing. He was an average punter and the kid we drafted has the potential to be a great punter. I like Chris as a person but people seem to have this fantasy idea of what he was as a football player.

Zane Holmin
Zane Holmin

I dont see what all the talk is about, they would have given him the boot a long time ago if it had much to do with his outspokenness. He didnt really deserve to stay on the team when you look at his statistics

Ross Levine
Ross Levine

"Vikings officials: Chris Kluwe is old and not that good. But we wish him the best." At least you guys didn't put quotes around it...I had thought at first that's actually what they said, only to see these "suspicious" paragraphs only seem as such under the expected by everyone guise that this had some other reason behind the usual. I'm sure the Vikings know better than is that his recent fame will effect any decision made spin wise, no matter how otherwise normal it is. And it appears to be happening. Even Kluwe himself "implied" he was old and may only have a few years left in the NFL. It is sad he is not to spend them with the Vikings, but I sincerely doubt we'd be even talking about this or deeply analyzIng run of the mill statements on performance if not for his other life as a pundit on social issues. It sucks he's gotta go, but it doesn't really stink of anything to me. And it sounds like he intends to remain in MN as a resident!

Bill Nolan
Bill Nolan

How exactly does drafting one punter and cutting one punter "add competition to the position"?

Paul Walker
Paul Walker

To hell with the vikings. They also threw the state of MN under the bus with their financing of the stadium.

myjah
myjah

I don't see how this is "throwing him under the bus." I think it's pretty obvious they included the reasons for his release in the statement to combat the perception they were releasing him because of his activism.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd

Low budget. Pretty much tells you all you need to know about Spielman.

ludwitr
ludwitr

I think you're trying to make this a lot more than it is.  They signed a new guy that can outperform the current guy for less money.  It's a business, and their statement reflects exactly that.

southmpls86
southmpls86

@ChazDanger This was filed under the "News Blog" portion of the site. I don't think it's skewed to say City Pages thinks this is news.

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