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.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings take punter in fifth round

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Vikings, NFL draft, Chris Kluwe, Ryan Longwell Updated: April 27, 2013 - 2:22 PM

 

With their fifth-round pick -- the 155th overall -- the Vikings took UCLA punter Jeff Locke in a move that seems eerily reminiscent of last year's decision to draft kicker Blair Walsh.

That decision to take Walsh ultimately meant the end of veteran Ryan Longwell's time with the team. Will the decision to take the left-footed Locke mean Chris Kluwe's time with the Vikings is over?

Locke compiled a career 44.23 punting average in his career at UCLA. As a senior he was named first-team all-Pac-12 and was an honorable mention all-America by SI.com while being a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award. He led conference punters with 34 punts inside the 20-yard line (21 of which were downed at or inside the 10) and added 68 touchbacks on 86 kickoffs.

Kluwe is coming off a season in which his 39.7-yard net average was the best in his eight-year career with the team. Kluwe, of course, is also well-known for his very public stances on the issues of the day. Kluwe is due to be paid $1.45 million this upcoming season. 

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