In what probably wasn’t that big of a surprise move (I totally thought he was a free agent and didn’t actually sign a 4-year contract just last year), Minnesota Vikings place kicker and kickoff “specialist” Ryan Longwell was kicked to the curb, given the boot, tossed to the dirty shoe pile, shoehorned off the team, etc, etc, foot jokes, yesterday afternoon. I say it wasn’t THAT big of a surprise move because the Vikings did just draft a guy named BLAIR (wasn’t that a Golden Girl?) to do some type of kicking as well, even though many speculated it would be as a kickoff specialist to start since Longwell’s leg ironically didn’t kick the ball very long. But, really? We’re going to give roster spots to a punter (DESERVED, MIND YOU), a 38-year old field goal kicker, a kickoff specialist, and a long snapper? AH, AMERICA, WHAT A LIFE.
Well, don’t worry, we didn’t. Spielman cut Longwell, only has Blair Witch on the team to kick field goals, and solved the mystery, Scooby Doo. So ends the Ryan Longwell saga.
And what a saga it was. Longwell came to the Vikings after a lengthy bout with the Packers, in what I believe was the same offseason that Darren Sharper signed with the team. It was weird. No one every really hated Longwell as a Packer like we all hated Sharper, Favre, or Donald Driver. Longwell came over and it was like, “WHATEVER, OLD MAN, GROW A CHIN,” which he never did. But then he just kind of became solid for the team. Kicking indoors at the Dome was a great boon to him, and not having to worry about getting three points when your team was within 30 yards is always kind of nice. But then the team started sucking really bad and those three points matter less and less when you were losing by 27, you know?
I personally didn’t mind Longwell. He was fine, like a vanilla wafer (I use that analogy because he is Caucasian!). Never too up, never too down. He seemed to gel really well with our special teams players, and having him lock down the kicker spot meant we didn’t have to sign Paul Edinger to a one year deal anymore. Remember him? Yeah, sorry for ruining your Tuesday. The only thing that would bother me was when we wouldn’t be able to kick it past the 25 yard line on kickoffs, always allowing the opposing team to start on the 35 yard line, AT LEAST. And this was AFTER they moved the kickoff spot up five extra yards last year! …. Just kidding, but I may as well not be. Besides that, he was good at his other job, that being, kicking footballs straight between a field goal post. Nice work!
In the end though, that wasn’t enough, especially for a team that is going to be struggling this year. You may think that having a guy who can put three points on the board would be helpful (and it might!), but not at his price and not at the cost of developing younger guys, I guess. The flip side is maybe we can just sign a NEW Paul Edinger guy to replace Longwell, cheaper, and who also likes rock music like Kluwe does. I doubt Blair Walsh is that guy, but maybe I’m wrong. I doubt it. He kind of just looks like the person who listens to The Carpenters, or Selena Gomez, or whatever. He’s not allowed to join the band that Kluwe and the new guy will form, which they should name themselves “The Kick Starters.” Or something. Man, I can’t WAIT for the 2012 season!
Thus ends the longest blog post about a field goal kicker ever.