I wasn’t all that surprised when the Vikings decided to select a kicker in the 2012 NFL Draft.  I wasn’t surprised that they cut Ryan Longwell.

Most surprising to me, however, was the timing of the move to waive Longwell.  That timing, as General Manager Rick Spielman explains it, was a matter of respect for Longwell.  Spielman wants to give him the best chance possible to find a good fit with another team.

“We felt that Ryan deserved an opportunity to go out and get employment instead of waiting through training camp,” said Spielman.  “Once we made the decision to go with Blair [Walsh], it was the only fair thing to do with Ryan, to give him an opportunity to potentially get hooked on with another team instead of waiting until the end.”

Spielman also indicated that the decision to move on from Longwell was one that was made when he gained full control of the roster.

“I think it all goes back to when we started our whole process of evaluating our roster back in January, when we started our meetings and evaluating everybody on our roster and making those difficult decisions on, like I said, some very good veteran football players,” Spielman said. “It makes it even more difficult because of the type of people they are as well.”

Longwell has always been a class act, at least until he came to his senses and left Green Bay (wink), and I look forward to seeing him kick a game winner or two in 2012… as long as it isn’t against us.