It's not like we didn't see it coming, but it still feels weird to say goodbye.
We speculated on Saturday that Chris Kluwe's days with the Minnesota Vikings were numbered. It turns out that number was two; Kluwe was officially released by the team on Monday. Kluwe cordially confirmed his departure by a series of tweets because of course that's how Chris Kluwe would confirm his departure.
So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish!— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 6, 2013
Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years. I wouldn't have traded it for anything.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 6, 2013
And thank you everyone for your support. Remember, one label does not define who you are as a person :)— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 6, 2013
The Vikings basically sealed Kluwe's fate when they drafted Jeff Locke in the 5th round just over a week ago. We have seen this story before--in 2012 the Vikings drafted Blair Walsh and quickly released popular kicker Ryan Longwell well before Training Camp. While Kluwe holds sentimental value for many Vikings fans, the team's decision to let Kluwe go right away is admirable. Kluwe now has maximum time to catch on with another squad before the 2013 season begins.
As Fearless Leader alluded to in his post on Saturday, this was a business decision by the Vikings. Kluwe's very outspoken and often controversial views on off-the-field issues shouldn't have factored into this decision. In my opinion they didn't. Kluwe was due about $1.5 million this season, which was a pretty steep price for a punter that has been middling in most statistical categories for the past few seasons.
If Jeff Locke performs anything like Blair Walsh did in his rookie campaign, the Vikings will once again be applauded for a shrewd special teams move. But I think we all know that there's no way Locke will be anywhere near as entertaining as Kluwe was throughout his tenure with the Vikings. (Unless of course Locke plays guitar in a rock band, is an avid gamer, becomes a figurehead for important social causes, completely masters Twitter, and comes up with incredibly creative uses of swear words in Deadspin posts. Maybe it's a UCLA punter thing? Nahhh.)
We at Daily Norseman wish nothing but the best for Chris Kluwe in the future. His one-of-a-kind personality will truly be missed in Minnesota. As he mentioned in his tweet, one label could not possibly define him. Kluwe's unique take on life as a professional athlete is truly refreshing.
I usually un-follow Vikings players on Twitter after they have left the team. But with Kluwe, you better believe that I'm making an exception.