Vikings hire independent attorneys to lead investigation of Kluwe allegations

Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe claims he was released by Minnesota in May 2013 partly for speaking publicly about gay rights issues.

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings are taking the allegations by former punter Chris Kluwe seriously.

Minnesota, a day after Kluwe partially blamed his May 2013 release on his penchant for speaking publicly about gay rights issues, hired attorneys to lead an independent review of the situation.

The Vikings hired former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney Chris Madel to lead the investigation into Kluwe’s accusations against special teams coordinator Mike Priefer.

"It is extremely important for the Vikings organization to react immediately and comprehensively with an independent review of these allegations," Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf said in a statement released by the team.

Kluwe, who was out of the NFL this past season after being released by Minnesota in May (he was also released by the Raiders on Sept. 1), labed Priefer a "bigot" and called coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman "cowards" in an article posted on Deadspin on Thursday morning.

Priefer responded later in a statement, "I vehemently deny today’s allegations made by Chris Kluwe."

The team wants to get to the truth of the matter, including the allegations against Priefer, who is still employed by the team even though Frazier was fired Monday after going 21-32-1 in his three-plus seasons as coach.

"This is a highly sensitive matter that we as an organization will address with integrity," Vikings vice president of legal affairs and chief administrative officer Kevin Warren said in the statement. "Eric and Chris have stellar reputations in both the local and national legal community. They have handled numerous cases involving a wide range of issues, and we are confident they will move swiftly and fairly in completing this investigation."

The statement says Magnuson and Madel, a partner and Chair, respectively, at  Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P., have already begun their investigation and will be interview current and former members of the Vikings’ organization.

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