Another Vikings special teams shake-up was made Sunday as the team informed incumbent long snapper Kevin McDermott of his release, according to a league source.
The move ends the competition with rookie Austin Cutting, a seventh-round pick out of the Air Force who has been awarded the Vikings long snapper job. McDermott, 29, started 64 games for the Vikings since he was signed in 2015 to compete with then-incumbent long snapper Cullen Loeffler.
McDermott’s playing time during Friday’s preseason opener at New Orleans, where Cutting took the lead with the field goal operation, was a clear precursor. The long snapper rotation during training camp has concerned Zimmer, among other issues, as kicker Dan Bailey remained inconsistent. Now Cutting will be the full-time snapper while coaches pin down the rhythm with each operation and assess the dependability of their kicker and punter.
Aside from the Vikings choosing youth and a draft pick in Cutting, McDermott is also overcoming last season’s injury in Los Angeles, where he lost the top of his left pinkie when it was lodged in a Rams player’s helmet.
So the Vikings drafted Cutting to be the fourth long snapper, including a late 2015 injury replacement in Jeff Overbaugh, of head coach Mike Zimmer’s six seasons in Minnesota. Newly acquired kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik, dealt from Baltimore to Minnesota on Sunday, will also be the Vikings’ eighth different kicker or punter in that span.
McDermott was entering the third year of a four-year contract extension signed in 2016. His release will save $760,000 for the Vikings and leave $200,000 in dead money on this year’s salary cap.