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Vikings' Longwell not pleased to forgo kickoffs

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Posted June 03, 2010 @ 1:50 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

It appears that the Vikings will keep four specialists on the roster this season — a punter, a long-snapper, a placekicker and a kickoff specialist. The team signed ex-Panther Rhys Lloyd, who has been among the league leaders in touchbacks the past two seasons, to handle kickoff duties. And that means that Ryan Longwell, well-paid by kicker standards, will be reduced to extra-point and field-goal attempts. No one is doubting his ability to do either of those, as Longwell has established a reputation as a cool, calm performer in the clutch over several years. But he appeared to be upset with not handling kickoffs anymore, calling the move "odd." Although Longwell was diplomatic when asked about the new situation, sources told us it was clear he was not happy. Longwell said he hoped to continue working on his kickoffs, which improved two seasons ago, though the team went to more of a directional approach last season. The Lloyd signing appeared to signal that the Vikings would like to get better distance on their kickoffs and earn more touchbacks, especially with 10 of their 16 games being played in domed stadiums.


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