If the Vikings draft Manti Te’o tonight it might not be the only Draft-related move that we’ve been calling for months now.
When profiling punter Ryan Allen, and then later Brad Wing, I outlined all of the various reasons the Vikings might send special teams coordinator Mike Priefer on the road to find a new punter this offseason. Kluwe’s $1.4 million salary chews up significant space (for a punter) in the last year of his current deal. He’s getting older and seems to be, at least slightly, regressing. There is some incredible talent and depth at the punter position available this year. Priefer also expressed last season that Kluwe’s off-field endeavours have been exhausting.
With the success Priefer had last year in sneaking in some visits with kicker Blair Walsh, who they then selected to replace Ryan Longwell, I felt that the timing made sense to attempt the same type of transition at punter.
And the signs are pointing to that being a very real possibility.
1500 ESPN reports that Priefer conducted at least three private visits with prospective punters prior to tonight. LSU’s Brad Wing, Arizona State’s Josh Hubner and UCLA’s Jeff Locke have all been worked out privately by Priefer, according to the report. These visits are unlikely to be a result of anything less than strong interest, because the Vikings already have a “camp leg” in the form of T.J. Conley on the roster.
Kluwe’s job is safe for one more day, but it appears he could be looking for work as soon as Sunday.