Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


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Priefer: Kluwe's distractions 'getting old'

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Chris Kluwe, Vikings special teams Updated: December 13, 2012 - 1:17 PM

Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is a big fan of Ray Guy, but he's not a big fan of Vikings punter Chris Kluwe's ongoing campaign to get Guy voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a sign of respect for punters.

Asked jokingly if he was going to hide the tape so Kluwe couldn't write any more pro-Ray Guy messages on his uniform this Sunday, Priefer turned serious.

"I don't even want to talk about it," he said. "Those distractions are getting old for me, to be honest with you. Does Ray Guy deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. But there are other ways to go about doing it, in my opinion."

Asked if he's talked to Kluwe about it, Priefer said, "No. He won't listen."

Kluwe was an outspoken proponent of gay marriage rights in the fall. After Minnesota voters weighed in and agreed with Kluwe, the punter turned his attention and his Twitter account to pushing Guy for the Hall of Fame while lambasting the Hall's selectors for not selecting a punter for enshrinement.

Kluwe went a step further last Sunday when players' uniforms contained a patch celebrating the Hall's 50th anniversary. Kluwe covered the patch with a piece of tape that had the words "Vote Ray Guy" on it. He was fined $5,250, which is the standard amount for a uniform violation. Wednesday, he said the fine was worth it and continued his crusade in front of a group of reporters.

"To me, it's getting old," Priefer said. "He's got to focus on punting and holding."

Rudolph's big `catch'

When offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was asked why tight end Kyle Rudolph didn't have a catch in Sunday's game, he smiled and said, "He had the onside kick. That was his first touch of the game. I congratulated him for that."

Musgrave went on to say the team needs to get Rudolph more involved in the offense on a consistent basis.

Priefer also talked about Rudolph's contribution to the hands-team on kickoff returns.

"He's the perfect guy for that," Priefer said. "He's big and strong and can jump and has great hands. He's the ideal hands-team player, in my opinion."

Jefferson won't return kicks this week

Cornerback A.J. Jefferson has been cleared to return to practice following Sunday's concussion, defensive coordinator Alan Williams said today.

Priefer said Jefferson won't return kickoffs. He returned his first and only kickoff as a Viking last week. He fumbled it, but that's not why he won't be returning kicks this week.

"It's more for the concussion," he said. "He's had some really good returns in Arizona. He was very successful. No touchdowns, but he had some big plays for them last year. I was excited for that role when we got him. Because of the concussion, you have to be smart."

Punt returner Marcus Sherels "more than likely" will return kickoffs as well, Priefer said.

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2013 preseason     
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