Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer didn’t say as much, but it doesn’t take a body language expert to deduce that he’s ready for the Chris Kluwe questions to disappear.
Priefer met with reporters after today’s practice. This week’s settlement of Kluwe’s lawsuit against the Vikings was brought up when Priefer was asked for his opinion on the terms of the settlement and whether he was relieved to have the lawsuit behind him.
“You know,” he started, “I’m really excited about playing the Kansas City Chiefs. I’ve been focused on them all week. It’s something that I really haven’t given it much thought. The bottom line is we got a game to play and a season to prepare for.”
Priefer was suspended for the first three games of the regular season because of an anti-gay comment he made to Kluwe, the team’s former punter, in a team setting in 2012. He can reduce the suspension to two games by completing sensitivity training.
Thoughts on interim special teams coordinator Joe Marciano:
Priefer said things are going very well Marciano, who will be the team’s interim special teams coordinator during Priefer’s suspension.
“He’s a very knowledgeable coach,” Priefer said. “He’s been successful. He’s been in this league a long time. We’re trading ideas as we’ve been game-planning those first two ballgames, first three ballgames, actually. We just haven’t gotten as far as [Week 3 against] New Orleans yet because it’s a lot of work. But we’re getting there.
“Unfortunately, I have to leave the building for a few weeks, but we’re going to leave the guys in good hands.”
Walsh was 47 of 50 in practice:
Priefer said he’s not worried about kicker Blair Walsh, who is 0 for 2 from 50 yards and beyond during the preseason. Walsh also missed a 33-yard PAT in the closing seconds of last week’s win over the Cardinals.
“”He’s had a really good training camp,” Priefer said. “Going into that game the other night, he was 47 of 50 in team period. Obviously, that doesn’t mean a whole lot when you miss a couple of field goals. But he’s striking the ball well. He’s hitting the ball well. We’re working on a little bit of the follow through. We’ll tweak that and I think he’ll be just fine.”
Priefer said weather wasn’t a factor in any of Walsh’s preseason misses.
Hoping for Patterson kick returns
Cordarrelle Patterson has just started returning kicks in practice this week. The Vikings haven’t used him in the first two preseason games because his health is too valuable to risk over the course of a month’s worth of preseason games.
But Priefer said he’s hoping coach Mike Zimmer chooses to use Patterson for at least one or two returns on Saturday at Kansas City.
“I don’t think I need to see anything from [Patterson], but it’s one of those things that if you only do it in practice, the tempo isn’t the same, the timing isn’t the same,” Priefer said. “A lot of our returns are based off of timing, so getting him out there for a rep or two will help him get ready for St. Louis” in the regular season opener.