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Austin Cutting officially cleared to pursue NFL career

He can put his service commitment off

NFL: Minnesota Vikings-Minicamp Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The only member of the Minnesota Vikings’ draft class of 2019 to not sign his first NFL contract appears to be well on the road to hitting that milestone.

Long snapper Austin Cutting, who the Vikings selected with the last of their 12 selections in April’s selection meeting, has been officially cleared to pursue his career in the National Football League, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

A few weeks ago, we passed along the news. . .well before anybody else did. . .that the Department of Defense policy on service academy athletes wishing to pursue careers in professional sports was on the verge of being reversed. Now, according to Tomasson’s article, Cutting has been officially cleared to sign his contract with the Vikings and compete against Kevin McDermott for the long snapping job when Training Camp starts next week.

Cutting is expected to sign a four-year, $2.59 million contract on Monday, according to Tomasson.

As the article points out, with the Vikings being in the salary cap position that they’re in, they could benefit a bit if Cutting were to beat out McDermott for the job. Cutting’s cap hit for 2019 is set to be approximately $513,644. That doesn’t make the Vikings’ “Top 51” salaries, so it wouldn’t officially impact the salary cap or anything. However, if he were to win the job, it would lead to McDermott being released, which would save the Vikings about $760,000. McDermott has a $960,000 salary, but the Vikings would incur a $200,000 “dead money” hit upon his release.

It hasn’t been clarified yet how Cutting will be fulfilling his service commitment, but I’m assuming it will either transfer to the Air Force Reserve (similar to what Keenan Reynolds has done since he left the Naval Academy), but when we get the actual clarification we will pass it along.