Vikings players come out to defend special teams coach
Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe made waves on Thursday, when he made several allegations in a story for Deadspin against Minnesota's upper management and coaching staff. Specifically, he implied that special teams coach Mike Priefer is a bigot, saying that he heard Priefer make several homophobic comments.
A few Vikings player responded to Kluwe's story with words of support for Priefer. First, starting safety Harrison Smith had this to say:
Then punter Jeff Locke, who took Kluwe's job after the latter was released, said this:
(1/2) In my short time with the Vikings, Coach Priefer has treated me with respect and has helped me develop as a player and person.— Jeff Locke (@jefflocke18) January 2, 2014
(2/2) I have never witnessed any actions or statements by Coach Priefer similar to those described in the recent Deadspin article.— Jeff Locke (@jefflocke18) January 2, 2014
Kicker Blair Walsh was the most outspoken of the trio, tweeting out this statement:
I fully stand behind Coach Priefer, Rick Spielman, and Leslie Frazier. Just released a statement regarding the issue at hand.— Blair Walsh (@BlairWalsh3) January 2, 2014
He went into further details with reporters on Thursday, issuing a statement.
"I have been a member of the Minnesota Vikings for 2 years. I want to start off by saying I have the utmost respect for Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier and Mike Priefer. All three, are good men.
I have had countless conversations and interactions with Coach Priefer, and I personally can attest to his integrity and character. His professionalism in the workplace is exemplary, and I firmly believe that my teammates would whole-heartedly agree. The allegations made today are reprehensible and totally not compatible with what Mike Priefer stands for.
As we all know, in the NFL you must perform at the highest level and meet the performance expectations of your coaches, management, and ownership. If these expectations, based upon past performance AND future potential for excellence, are not met, your NFL career with that team, is over. I believe this was the case with Chris, and it is unfair to think that his release was anything other than football related.
In my time here at Minnesota, Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier have exemplified true leadership. Contrary to Chrisâ statements, they have promoted a workplace environment that was conducive for success. At no time did I ever feel suppressed or that I could not be myself.
I firmly stand behind Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier, and Mike Priefer.