Vikings give veteran kicker the bootThe Minnesota Vikings have released 16-year veteran kicker Ryan Longwell, the latest and perhaps most dangerous turnover to date in their rebuilding project.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have released 16-year veteran kicker Ryan Longwell, the latest and perhaps most dangerous turnover to date in their rebuilding project.
The surprising move was made Monday, a little more than a week after the team drafted Georgia kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round. Shortly after Longwell said goodbye to Vikings fans on Twitter — he thanked them for their cheers and said they’ve “been awesome” to him and his family — the team announced the decision in a brief news release.
“Ryan did a good job for us,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “He is a great person and has been an outstanding player in our league for a long time. I wish him nothing but the best. He has been great for our organization.”
Longwell had three seasons and $7 million left on a four-year contract he signed last summer that included a $3.5 million signing bonus. He was due to make $1.75 million salary this season, putting him in jeopardy to join left guard Steve Hutchinson, cornerback Cedric Griffin and right guard Anthony Herrera on the list of expensive veterans let go this year.
Over just six years with the Vikings, Longwell recorded 633 points, third in franchise history behind kicker Fred Cox and wide receiver Cris Carter.
His 94.4 field-goal percentage over the 2009 and 2010 seasons — 43 of 46 — was the best in the NFL. Including nine years with the Green Bay Packers, Longwell is 13th in NFL history with 1,687 points and fourth on the active list.