Oakland Raiders Rumors: Chris Kluwe Option While Team Likes Mat McBriar and Jason Baker As Punters, Minnesota Governor Questions Vikings Release

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May 10, 2013 10:07 AM EDT
Mat McBriar
The Oakland Raiders may sign Chris Kluwe and the team is also looking at the possibility of signing Jason Baker and Mat McBriar after bringing them in for workouts.(Photo : Reuters) "

The Oakland Raiders may sign Chris Kluwe and the team is also looking at the possibility of signing Jason Baker and Mat McBriar after bringing them in for workouts.

The Minnesota Vikings released punter Chris Kluwe earlier this week and while the team said it was purely a football decision and not related to his outspoken opinions on gay rights, some are not totally convinced and one person is Gov. Mark Dayton.

According to Pro Football Talk, Dayton told My Fox Twin Cities in Minneapolis that he felt the team was not "transparent" about the release of Kluwe and that he deserved to be able to compete for his job. After playing eight seasons with the Vikings, the team released him for rookie Jeff Locke, who they drafted in the first round. The Vikings covered themselves even if they did release Kluwe for his outspokenness, as they used a draft pick on a kicker and he had a decent but not crazy $1.45 million cap salary hit.

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Kluwe was solid but not stellar last season, setting a career high in net average, but that did not rank in the top part of the league and he also is getting up there in age, ranking 31st in punts downed inside the 20 yard line. The Vikings have released veterans for younger players in the past with names like Steve Hutchinson and Antoine Winfield and now Kluwe is another part of that trend. Teams in the NFL aren't fans of distractions, and agree with Kluwe or not, many saw his outspoken antics as a distraction.

The team drafted Locke out of UCLA and he was one of the best punters in college football last season and the Vikings have also had recent luck in the draft with special teams players, as Blair Walsh was brought in to replace longtime kicker Ryan Longwell. Walsh set records as a rookie and now Kluwe, who is 31-years-old, will move on elsewhere after being cut with one year left on his contract.

Kluwe has been solid for the Vikings during his career, averaging over 44 yards per punt during that time. Apart from supporting gay equality, Kluwe also advocated for Ray Guy to make it into the Hall of Fame and also criticized the leadership of the players during the NFL lockout. A telling sign about the whole situation could have been the quote from special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who after the Ray Guy post-it incident said: "Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you," Priefer said.

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