The Vikings have released longtime long snapper Cullen Loeffler. Kevin McDermott will be the team’s long snapper to open the 2015 season.

“I am forever grateful for my time in Minnesota and the opportunity to be a Viking for so long,” Loeffler wrote on Twitter this morning. “It has been a great run. Thank You!”

Loeffler was the longest-tenured Vikings player, having been with the team since 2004, when he signed as a rookie free agent out of Texas.

He appeared in 171 games over that span, missing just five total games.

Loeffler was uncharacteristically erratic last season, the lowest point coming when his low snap directly resulted in a blocked punt that bounced through the end zone for a safety in the late stages of the Dolphins loss.

For the first time since 2005, the Vikings brought in competition for Loeffler. And after just three preseason games, the Vikings decided to go with the 25-year-old McDermott, who was a teammate of punter Jeff Locke at UCLA.

“These types of decisions are the hardest part of our jobs,” General Manager Rick Spielman said this morning in a statement. “Cullen was outstanding in the community and on the field for the Vikings. He handled his business with class and his impact in the locker room and on the franchise were second to none. We wish him the best in the future.”

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