2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Vikings draft punter in 5th round, Kluwe out?

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-27 20:45

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - Chris Kluwe's eventful run as Minnesota Vikings punter may have come to an end on the final day of the NFL draft on Saturday.

The Vikings selected UCLA punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round, perhaps paving the way for the outspoken Kluwe's exit after eight seasons in Minnesota. In his later years, Kluwe became a vocal advocate for gay rights, a thorn in the side of the NFL establishment and a player who never subscribed the mantra ``punters should be seen and not heard.''

``I'm hoping I get a chance to compete,'' Kluwe said in a phone interview. ``If not, we all get cut eventually and I'll just have to go and find another job.''

Kluwe averaged 39.7 yards per punt, which was the best net average of his career but ranked 17th league-wide. He didn't always see eye-to-eye with straight-laced special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who said late last season that he was getting tired of Kluwe's public stances after the punter was fined for covering a Hall of Fame patch on his jersey with a sign that read ``Vote Ray Guy'' to protest the lack of punters in the Hall.

Kluwe, who is scheduled to make $1.45 million this year, said he thinks it would be a shame if he were to get cut because of his views, but said he wasn't sure if that was factoring into any decision. Now a similar scenario appears to be unfolding this season that did last year with veteran kicker Ryan Longwell. The Vikings drafted Georgia kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round last season and cut Longwell before training camp.

``The only thing I can do is keep doing what I've been doing and punting to the best of my ability,'' Kluwe said. ``Statistically, I've been the best punter the Vikings have ever had.''

General manager Rick Spielman declined to comment on Kluwe's future, but he did say that Kluwe's outspoken nature would have nothing to do with the decision to keep him or cut him.

``I have no issues if Chris Kluwe wants to express his opinion,'' Spielman said. ``That's his right. That's his freedom of speech. This is just a football decision to bring in a guy and come in and compete.''

Locke has a career average of 44.23 yards per punt, which is second in UCLA history, just ahead of Kluwe. He said he was told by Vikings coaches to get ready to come in and compete for the job.

``I just know I'm competing,'' Locke said. ``I talked to coach Priefer and he just said to come in and be ready to work. That's what I'm going with.''

After sitting out the second day of the NFL draft thanks to a big trade, the Vikings started the final day in search of a linebacker to help round out an incomplete group.

No better place to go than Linebacker U.

The Vikings selected Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges with the 120th overall selection in the fourth round, and later added his teammate Michael Mauti with pick No. 213 in the seventh round. They also bolstered their depth on the offensive line with sixth-rounder Jeff Baca (196), who can play all three spots on the line, of UCLA, seventh-round guard Travis Bond (214) of North Carolina and Florida State defensive tackle Everett Dawkins with their last pick of the day at No. 229.

Adding Hodges brings a versatile player to a group that currently lacks a starter in the middle after Jasper Brinkley left for Arizona. Then the Vikings rolled the dice by using one of their three seventh-rounders on Mauti, a highly touted linebacker who tore his left ACL twice and his right one once in his college career.

``Man there's no better feeling in the world,'' Hodges said. ``I'm talking weight-off-my-shoulders type of feeling. ... I just started crying, man. I couldn't believe it. It's just a blessing.''

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 243 pounds, Hodges had 5 1/2 sacks in his college career for the Nittany Lions. He started his college career as a safety before being moved to linebacker. He played primarily on the outside, but said he would feel comfortable playing inside as well. He played middle linebacker at the East-West Shrine game.

``They really liked me and they told me, `You've got a chance to really come in here and make an impact for us,''' Hodges said. ``I told them, `Whatever you guys need me to do, whatever you guys want me to do, I'm ready to do it.' I'm ready to be a Viking. I'm ready to get started.''

If the Vikings choose to keep Hodges outside, they could move veteran Erin Henderson to the middle to fill out a group that includes Pro Bowler Chad Greenway. Mauti missed the entire 2009 season and most of 2011 while recovering from knee injuries only to suffer a third ACL tear late in his senior season that prevented him from participating in most of the NFL combine. He said he plans to be ready for training camp.

The Vikings did not have a selection during the second and third rounds on Friday night after trading those picks, plus their first fourth-rounder and a seventh-rounder, to New England on Thursday night to move up and take Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. The Vikings also grabbed Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes in the first round, making them the first team since the Rams in 2001 to have three first-round picks.

---

Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Drew StantonSep 17 09:45p

Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton is in line to start his second straight game against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3 with QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) sidelined. It [ More ]

John AbrahamSep 17 09:13p

Arizona Cardinals LB John Abraham (concussion), LB Alex Okafor (thigh) and DE Frostee Rucker (calf) each did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. LB Larry Foote (shoulder) and P Dave [ More ]

Andre EllingtonSep 17 09:13p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

B. Green-EllisSep 17 08:03p

Several clubs have reportedly reached out to free-agent RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Bengals), who is still in the process of rehab after suffering a hip injury in the preseason.

Jonathan DwyerSep 17 08:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer has been deactivated from all team activities Wednesday, Sept. 17. The team was made aware of allegations by the Phoenix police and are cooperating [ More ]

Marshawn LynchSep 17 07:53p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (back) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Vernon DavisSep 17 07:43p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, and he is still on crutches.

Justin SmithSep 17 07:43p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), OT Anthony Davis (hamstring), C Marcus Martin (knee), TE Vance McDonald (knee) and DT Justin Smith (non-injury related) did not practice Wednesday, [ More ]

Terrell ManningSep 17 07:33p

Miami Dolphins LB Terrell Manning was released Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Dion LewisSep 17 07:23p

Arizona Cardinals P Drew Butler, Chicago Bears RB Shaun Draughn and WR Chris X. Williams, Houston Texans LB Jason Ankrah, Indianapolis Colts RB Dion Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars OT Cameron [ More ]

Jonathan DwyerSep 17 07:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer is being questioned for a domestic violence incident, according to sources. However, he hasn't been arrested, and his status remains unchanged.

Kelvin BenjaminSep 17 07:03p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Dwan EdwardsSep 17 06:53p

Carolina Panthers OT Byron Bell (toe), WR Philly Brown (ankle), OT Nate Chandler (toe), LB Thomas Davis (hip), DT Dwan Edwards (back), RB Mike Tolbert (chest), RB Fozzy Whittaker [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 17 06:53p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Shane VereenSep 17 06:43p

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) has been added to this week's injury report, and he was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Julian EdelmanSep 17 06:43p

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (back) was added to the injury report and was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Alfonzo DennardSep 17 06:43p

New England Patriots S Don Jones (hamstring) and LB Jerod Mayo (non-injury) didn't practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. DE Michael Buchanan (ankle), LB Jamie Collins (thigh), OG Dan Connolly (knee), [ More ]

Mike PounceySep 17 06:23p

Miami Dolphins DE Terrence Fede (knee), LB Koa Misi (ankle) and OG Shelley Smith (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. OT Branden Albert (shoulder), S Louis Delmas (calf), [ More ]

Ryan CladySep 17 06:13p

Denver Broncos DT Marvin Austin (non-injury), LB Lerentee McCray (knee) and LB Danny Trevathan (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. S David Bruton (shoulder) and OG Ben Garland [ More ]

Cyrus GraySep 17 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs DB Husain Abdullah (foot, quadriceps), RB Cyrus Gray (foot), WR Frankie Hammond (shoulder), WR Junior Hemingway (hip), OL Eric Kush (shoulder), LB Josh Martin (quadriceps, triceps) [ More ]

M. Jones-DrewSep 17 06:03p

Oakland Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew (hand) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Matt McCantsSep 17 06:03p

Oakland Raiders LB Sio Moore (ankle), CB Carlos Rogers (knee), WR Rod Streater (hip) and DE Justin Tuck (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee), [ More ]

Anthony SpencerSep 17 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys DT Davon Coleman (knee), LB Justin Durant (groin), LB Rolando McClain (groin) and RB Joseph Randle (concussion) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. DT Ken Bishop (illness), [ More ]

Montell OwensSep 17 05:53p

Detroit Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah (knee), LB Travis Lewis (quadriceps) and OT LaAdrian Waddle (calf) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. DT Nick Fairley (biceps), SS [ More ]

Brad JonesSep 17 05:43p

Green Bay Packers OT Bryan Bulaga (knee) and DB Micah Hyde (knee) both were limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. CB Casey Hayward (glute) and LB Brad Jones (quadriceps) [ More ]

Shaun HillSep 17 05:43p

St. Louis Rams QB Shaun Hill (thigh) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Scott WellsSep 17 05:43p

St. Louis Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), C Barrett Jones (back), TE Cory Harkey (knee) and C Scott Wells (non-injury) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. CB Brandon McGee (foot) was limited.

Tavon AustinSep 17 05:43p

St. Louis Rams WR Tavon Austin (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Kirk CousinsSep 17 05:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) could return around eight weeks after head coach Jon Gruden said Griffin will be in a cast for the next 10 days. [ More ]

Johnathan JosephSep 17 05:23p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) and S Shiloh Keo (calf) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 17. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz (foot), OG Ben Jones (ankle, knee), CB Johnathan Joseph [ More ]

Adrian PetersonSep 17 05:23p

The Minnesota Vikings intend to bring RB Adrian Peterson back after his legal issues are resolved.

Arian FosterSep 17 05:23p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 17.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group