Vikings notes: Priefer investigation wrapping up
- Article by: Matt Vensel
- Star Tribune
- June 19, 2014 - 12:58 AM
The independent investigation into Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer has reached its conclusion and the findings are expected to be finalized next week.
Priefer was accused by former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe of making anti-gay remarks during the 2012 season. Kluwe, in an article published on the website Deadspin in January, also said he believed his public support of marriage equality led to his release in 2013.
The Vikings launched a lengthy investigation into Priefer, who has been on the staff since 2011. Former U.S. Department of Justice attorney Chris Madel, who is heading the investigation along with former Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice Eric Magnuson, said Wednesday all interviews have been completed.
Once the report is finalized, it will be sent to the Vikings, who might huddle with the NFL’s legal team before results are announced.
Priefer, who has denied Kluwe’s claims, spoke with reporters Wednesday for the first time this offseason. He said his focus is on the Vikings, not the investigation that has tarnished his reputation.
“I come to work every morning and I’m excited about the direction of this football team,” Priefer said. “I really like our coaching staff, and I’m excited about our new players and excited about the guys we retained and came back. So my focus has been totally on football.”
Multiple offense wanted
New offensive coordinator Norv Turner brought an offense with deep roots in the “Air Coryell” system, but one of his goals after joining the Vikings was to get himself and his fellow coaches out of their comfort zone.
“There’s a big part of this offense that has been the same and is sound and is always going to be the same, and there’s guys who played in the offense 30, 20, 10 years ago that would recognize it,” Turner said Wednesday. “We tried to do some things that we looked at people who were having some success offensively and modernize this offense a little bit.”
Turner said he wants the Vikings offense to be multiple so that he can change its philosophy from one week to the next.
“You see so many different varieties of defense,” Turner said. “We want to have a complete offense. We want to be able to attack the defense’s weakness — if that means we’re a power run team one week and being a spread team another week.”
Manning the middle
During the first two days of this week’s three-day mandatory minicamp, the Vikings have tinkered with their lineup of linebackers. On Wednesday, veteran Chad Greenway moved inside to man the middle in both the base defense and in sub packages.
Jasper Brinkley, who was the middle linebacker during organized team activities, and Michael Mauti also got snaps there.
“We’re working a lot of guys in and out of that position, transitioning guys in and out,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “It’s a competition, and we feel good about the guys we have competing every day.”
• Turner said he knew Teddy Bridgewater would make quick decisions and be accurate, but one aspect of the rookie quarterback’s game has surprised him. “He has been outstanding throwing the deep ball,” Turner said.
• Priefer said he would like Marcus Sherels to be more aggressive on punt returns. He is encouraging him to make fewer fair catches and try to make opponents miss.
• Former Gophers linebacker Peter Westerhaus, whose football career was ended by ulcerative colitis, was a guest of General Manager Rick Spielman at practice. He received a No. 18 Vikings jersey and got to participate in the practice, lining up at cornerback on one running play.
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