Spielman: Longwell, at 37, was expendable

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 9, 2012 - 9:42 PM

Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell

Photo: Morry Gash, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Looking for an explanation for why the Vikings released veteran kicker Ryan Longwell earlier this week? General Manager Rick Spielman elaborated on that decision Wednesday, explaining, in a nutshell, that it was the latest transaction in the offseason youth movement the front office promised dating to January when Spielman was promoted.

Yes, Longwell had kicked in the Vikings' past 96 regular-season games plus three playoff contests in 2008 and '09. And yeah, he's the third-leading scorer in franchise history. But now it's time to turn the page and give rookie Blair Walsh a shot.

"Our emphasis has always been on trying to get our team better, try to get it younger and that's the direction we kind of went," Spielman said. "It just fits in with everything else we were honed in on this offseason."

Spielman praised Longwell for his work on the field and in the community during his six years here. But the GM also noted that the Vikings were hoping to be a little stronger on kickoffs going forward, something Walsh's leg strength should help. Even with the kickoff line moved up to the 35-yard line last year, Longwell forced only 19 touchbacks on 77 kicks in 2011.

Plus, Spielman said, releasing Longwell now rather than creating a kicking competition in training camp, would give the 37-year-old a chance to seek other work.

The Blair Walsh Project

Spielman isn't worried about the shaky 60-percent accuracy (21-for-35) Walsh had on field-goal attempts last season at Georgia, believing the 22-year-old kicker only needs to address a few technical details. Instead, Spielman focused on the 40 of 45 Walsh made in 2009 and 2010.

"You look at his history, he was a 90-percent kicker through most of his career," Spielman said. "And the kickoffs are exceptional from all the work we've done on him. He did have a down year his senior year, but we felt very confident that we could bring him along."

Still searching

Free agent linebacker Rocky McIntosh worked out for the Vikings on Tuesday. McIntosh, 29, spent his first six season with the Redskins. His best year came in 2010 when he recorded 110 tackles. Spielman said he would stay in contact with McIntosh but wouldn't say much more in regards to the team's interest.

At present, the Vikings figure to have a starting linebacking trio of Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson with additional depth coming from offseason additions Marvin Mitchell, Solomon Elimimian and Audie Cole.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Houston - LP: D. Keuchel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3
Cleveland 1 Top 8th Inning
Minnesota 3
Detroit 0 Bottom 8th Inning
Tampa Bay 1
Arizona - W. Miley 3:05 PM
Washington - G. Gonzalez
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0 Suspended
Chicago Cubs - WP: T. Wada 2
Atlanta - J. Teheran 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - D. Holmberg
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker 6:10 PM
Boston - R. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
San Diego - T. Ross 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Washington 6:00 PM
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question