Vikings draft punter in fifth round, perhaps to replace Kluwe

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 27, 2013 - 11:24 PM

UCLA punter Jeff Locke, drafted in the fifth round, looks like competition.

UCLA’s Jeff Locke, shown punting in the Senior Bowl, is coming to the Vikings. They took him in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday, perhaps to replace Chris Kluwe.

Photo: File photo by G.M. Andrews • Associated Press ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Vikings punter Chris Kluwe took it in stride when told Saturday afternoon that his team had just used its fifth-round draft pick on Jeff Locke, a big-legged punter from UCLA.

“If the Vikings end up cutting me, I’ll find a job somewhere else,” Kluwe said. “That’s the nature of the NFL. We all end up getting replaced by younger, cheaper guys eventually.”

Playing through right groin and left knee injuries in 2012, Kluwe had the third highest gross average (45.0 yards) and best net average (39.9) of his eight-year career. But he also finished 31st in the league in punts inside the 20, had some uncharacteristic and ill-timed shanks, and saw the constant attention from his social activism and social media presence wear thin with the coaching staff.

“I don’t know if [being so outspoken] is the reason they drafted a punter or not,” said Kluwe, who has generated national and international attention for his support of gay marriage rights. “They haven’t said anything to me about it.”

Asked after the draft if that was the case, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said, “It has nothing to do with anything Chris Kluwe is off the field. When we’re making decisions, we’re purely making them based on trying to bring in the best competition possible. This was just another normal personnel move.

“I have no issues with [Kluwe]. If Chris Kluwe wants to express his opinion, that’s his right. That’s his freedom of speech.”

A year ago, the Vikings drafted kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round and said he would compete with veteran Ryan Longwell. Longwell was cut a week later.

Spielman was asked if it’s possible Kluwe could face the same fate this year.

“I’m not going to comment on anything right now,” Spielman said. “We just finished the draft and signing college free agents. We’ll sit down with the coaches and analyze where we’re at with everything. But right now, going forward, we expect that to be a competition.”

Not surprisingly, Kluwe wasn’t watching the draft on Saturday. A man of many interests was with his band, Tripping Icarus, at Flowers Studio in Uptown. They were recording backup vocals on their fourth album, although Kluwe did admit that he had heard the rumors that the Vikings might draft a punter.

“I actually was signing autographs at the [Metrodome] during a draft event and I went on KFAN,” Kluwe said. “They were interviewing me and [safety] Harrison Smith. I said, `How awkward would that be if they drafted a punter while I’m still here?’”

Well, we’re about to find out. Or maybe not.

Teams don’t keep two punters and typically don’t draft ones they’re not committed to keeping. So Kluwe may never get his wish to “just compete for the job and see what happens.”

“I’ve put my product out on the field,” Kluwe said. “Statistically, I’m the best punter the Vikings have ever had.”

Kluwe owns team gross punting records for a game (57.5), a season (47.6) and a career (44.4). Locke, meanwhile, had a 44.2-yard career average at UCLA and was a semifinalist for the 2012 Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter.

Speaking of Guy, one of Kluwe’s causes in 2012 was the Hall of Fame candidacy of the former Raiders punter. Last December, Kluwe was fined $5,250 for a uniform violation when he covered the 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame patch on his jersey with a Post-it note with the words “Vote for Ray Guy.”

Special teams coach Mike Priefer wasn’t amused when asked about it the next week.

  • related content

  • Kluwe

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 0 1st Qtr 10:05
Miami 0
Baltimore 0 1st Qtr 10:28
Houston 3
Detroit 0 1st Qtr 9:48
Chicago 0
Cleveland 0 1st Qtr 9:12
Carolina 0
Atlanta 3 1st Qtr 11:15
New Orleans 7
Green Bay 0 1st Qtr 10:30
Tampa Bay 0
Kansas City 0 1st Qtr 9:10
Pittsburgh 3
New England 0 1st Qtr 9:44
NY Jets 0
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Orlando
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Washington
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Detroit
Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 12 2nd Half 15:48
Virginia 48
Maine 6 1st Half 15:58
Army 2
Ferris State 3 1st Half 17:01
Bowling Green 5
San Francisco 8 1st Half 16:42
Cleveland State 3
Oregon State 17 1st Half 11:12
Quinnipiac 12
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Canisius
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Radford
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Winthrop
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
Evansville
FIU 1:30 PM
Hartford
Goshen 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
Montana
ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 29 2nd Half
Denver 37
St Marys-CA 33 2nd Half 16:18
George Washington 44
TX-San Antonio 39 2nd Half 12:45
Nicholls 32
Portland State 30 2nd Half
Columbia 37
Tenn Tech 39 2nd Half 11:13
Morgan State 42
SMU 18 2nd Half
Auburn 35
Quinnipiac 46 2nd Half 18:39
Hartford 35
Hofstra 34 2nd Half
Boston College 26
Eastern Washington 38 2nd Half 13:40
Georgia Southern 29
Rhode Island 12:00 PM
Bryant
Liberty 6 1st Half 15:12
(1) South Carolina 9
Fairleigh Dickinson 16 1st Half 13:12
Brown 14
Buffalo 9 1st Half 14:18
Long Island 8
Bucknell 4 1st Half 16:39
Mount St Marys 8
Stony Brook 6 1st Half 14:52
Wagner 7
FIU 7 1st Half 16:22
Wofford 4
Duquesne 2 1st Half 17:09
Providence 5
Maine 15 1st Half 12:46
William & Mary 7
Alabama State 2 1st Half 15:53
Samford 8
TX-Pan American 3 1st Half 15:26
VA Commonwealth 4
South Dakota St 5 1st Half 17:42
Marist 9
Saint Josephs 10 1st Half 13:27
(5) Notre Dame 9
Radford 6 1st Half 16:33
Virginia Tech 7
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
TCU
Evansville 1:00 PM
IUPUI
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Chattanooga
Princeton 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Rider 1:00 PM
Binghamton
SC State 1:00 PM
Clemson
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
Colgate
South Alabama 1:00 PM
UAB
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Navy
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NJIT 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Davidson 1:00 PM
Charlotte
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Florida
Wright State 1:30 PM
Purdue
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Alabama
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Bradley
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Drake
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday against Miami?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close