When rookies (and other selected players) for the Minnesota Vikings report to the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan tomorrow. . .yes, tomorrow. . .for the start of Training Camp, long snapper Austin Cutting will be among them. The determination has been made that he will be able to play in the National Football League thanks to a reversal of Department of Defense policy, and now we’ve gotten more clarification on how that’s going to work.
According to a report from Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Cutting will be allowed to serve his active duty service commitment concurrent with his NFL career. During his draft weekend conference call with the media in the Twin Cities, Cutting said that he was an acquisitions officer, but as a member of the Vikings his job title is actually going to be “recruiting lieutenant.” If Cutting doesn’t make the Vikings and catches on with another team, he will be able to live in that city and continue his career.
There hasn’t been a clarification on what, exactly, Cutting’s role as a recruiting lieutenant would involve. Obviously having an Air Force member in a public position like this would be attractive for the Academy, and recruiting is one of the jobs where a member wouldn’t necessarily have to be tied down to a specific installation, since there are recruiting offices in every major city in America. Now, I’m not sure if that means you’re going to be able to find Lieutenant Cutting at a recruiting office in the Twin Cities anywhere, but I’m sure that’s something we’re going to get clarification on here eventually.
This also appears to be a different arrangement than we’ve seen for athletes that came out of the Service Academies in previous years. New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Keenan Reynolds, both Naval Academy graduates, have fulfilled their service commitments by being a part of the Naval Reserve. From the sounds of it, however, Cutting is going to be considered an active duty Airman while he’s playing for the Vikings.
Again, as more clarification comes down on this, we’ll pass it along. But this seems to be good news for the Vikings and for Austin Cutting.