Chris Kluwe

Vikings’ Mike Priefer To Be Reinstated

Vikings’ special teams coach Mike Priefer will be reinstated on Monday, September 15th, reports Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter).

Priefer was suspended in relation to homophobic remarks he made that came to light during the Chris Kluwe lawsuit.

The statement, tweeted by Breer, is as follows:

The Minnesota Vikings will reinstate Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer effective Monday, September 15. The decision by Vikings ownership follows extensive conversations with the independent professional consultants retained to conduct individualized anti-harassment, diversity and sexual orientation training with Coach Priefer. Those consultants have conveyed to the team that Coach Priefer was fully and thoughtfully engaged throughout the process and successfully completed the program. Details within the settlement agreement pertaining to the actions by the team remain confidential.

The team struggled on special teams today against the New England Patriots, as Chandler Jones blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown.

Vikings, Chris Kluwe Reach Settlement

TUESDAY, 9:15am: Kluwe and Halunen held their presser this morning to announce the settlement, which the Vikings have now confirmed in a press release of their own. Per Tomasson (Twitter links), the Vikings have agreed to make “substantial monetary contributions” to five LGBT groups, as an effort toward educating against homophobia.

FRIDAY, 4:47pm: A source tells Tomasson (Twitter link) that nothing is in writing yet regarding the settlement, but that there’s no reason to believe it won’t get done.

4:41pm: The Vikings and punter Chris Kluwe have agreed to a settlement, according to Kluwe’s attorney Clayton Halunen. Halunen told both Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Ben Goessling of (Twitter link) that an agreement has been reached, though Vikings lawyer Kevin Warren said to Tomasson that nothing has been finalized yet (Twitter link). It’s possible Halunen’s announcement is premature, but I’d guess the team just wants to wait until everything is official before making a statement of its own.

According to Halunen, a press conference will be held next week to announce the settlement between the two sides. Had the parties not agreed upon a compromise, Kluwe had been expected to file a lawsuit against his former team. The punter and attorney were upset that the full 150-page investigative report into Kluwe’s allegations had not been made public, with the Vikings opting instead to release a 29-page summary.

Kluwe, 32, alleged in a January article on that his release by the Vikings came as a result of his outspoken support of gay marriage. According to Kluwe, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer “openly and privately made homophobic comments and slurs intended to intimidate” the punter while he remained on the roster.

While it’s not clear yet what terms were agreed upon by the two sides, Kluwe has indicated in the past that any money handed out by the Vikings as a result of the settlement will be donated to LGBT groups.

NFC North Notes: Bears, Kluwe, Packers

Considering Marquess Wilson is a candidate for either the injured reserve list, or the IR with a designation to return, veteran wideout Santonio Holmes has a chance to be more than just a stopgap solution for a Bears offense in need of a No. 3 receiver, says Tom Pelissero of USA Today. A source tells Pelissero that Wilson is expected to be sidelined until at least midseason, so Chicago will have an interesting decision to make on whether to carry the young wideout on the active roster, or shift him to short- or long-term injured reserve. Each club is only allowed to place one player on the short-term IR.

Here’s more on the Bears’ signing of Holmes, along with a couple other items out of the division:

  • Holmes may be a viable third receiver, but he won’t solve the team’s kick return issues, writes John Mullin of Mullin also points out that the signing of Holmes continues a trend that has lasted all offseason, as the Bears have opted for veteran additions rather than young developmental pieces, strongly suggesting they’re in win-now mode. As we saw when we broke down their offseason moves, the Bears were one of the NFL’s most active teams in signing veteran free agents.
  • With an agreement reportedly in place between Chris Kluwe and the Vikings, Kluwe’s press conference will take place tomorrow at attorney Clayton Halunen’s office, according to the Star Tribune (Twitter link). However, it doesn’t appear it will be a joint presser with the team.
  • One of the Packers‘ areas of focus this offseason was on the defensive line, where the team made a concerted effort to get smaller and more athletic — B.J. Raji returns, but wide-bodied players like Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, and C.J. Wilson are no longer in the mix. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examines how the new-look Green Bay defensive line is holding up so far against the run.

NFC Notes: Harbaugh, Peterson, Packers

Asked about Alex Boone‘s holdout and Vernon Davis‘ near-holdout, as well as his own contract situation, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh took the opportunity to set the record straight regarding rumors about his deal with the Niners, in a conversation with Jason Cole of Bleacher Report.

“I signed my 10th contract in the National Football League in 2011, so I understand contracts,” Harbaugh said. “I understand how contracts work, and what they are there for. I also know that I work at the pleasure of the San Francisco 49ers organization and at the pleasure of the York Family. And I am paid extremely well – which I am most grateful for – and I am very proud to be part of this organization. For the record, I have never asked to be the highest-paid coach in football. I have never asked to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach. I have never asked for more power. Nor has anybody asked for those things on my behalf, which anybody in this organization can attest to, and all the focus will be on the 2014 season and achieving our goals of the team.”

Harbaugh’s comments seem to be directly reference an early-June report which suggested that contract talks between the Niners and their head coach had reached an impasse. While further discussions may still be on hold, it doesn’t sound as if Harbaugh is unhappy with his situation, which figures to be addressed after the 2014 season.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Cardinals GM Steve Keim and cornerback Patrick Peterson both appear committed to working out a long-term extension sooner rather than later, with Keim indicating the team has had “great talks” with agent Joel Segal, and Peterson saying the two sides are in “pretty heated negotiations.” Still, as Tom Pelissero of USA Today writes, no template has been set yet for how to account for the 2015 options for 2011 first-rounders when negotiating their second contracts.
  • After speaking to “key people” within the Packers‘ organization, Ian Rapoport of came away more convinced than ever that general manager Ted Thompson has no plans to retire anytime soon.
  • Peter King of takes a look at Jordan Gross’ somewhat surprising decision to retire after the 2013 season, and how the longtime Panthers tackle is transitioning into his post-playing career.
  • The Vikings are bringing in prominent criminal attorney Ted Wells, who headed the report on the Dolphins’ bullying scandal, to work on settlement talks for the Chris Kluwe investigation, a source tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Kluwe Expects Legal Battle To End NFL Career

WEDNESDAY, 12:35pm: In an email to PFR’s Dallas Robinson, Halunen indicated that he and Kluwe will continue to talk to the Vikings rather than filing the lawsuit today.

“I have spoken with the Vikings lawyer Joe Anthony and we have agreed to recommend to our clients that they continue with their conversations,” Halunen said. “We will not be taking any action pending the completion of those discussions.”

Speaking to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links), Halunen added that no deadline for a resolution has been set, but that he expects to determine soon whether or not further talks will be productive.

TUESDAY, 9:20am: Chris Kluwe and attorney Clayton Halunen are expected to file a lawsuit against the Vikings on Wednesday, and the veteran punter anticipates that the “protracted legal battle” that follows will result in his retirement from the NFL, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

I’m pretty sure that will end my career,” Kluwe said. “I doubt there will be many teams that want me on their roster with a lawsuit against another team at the same time. But this is something that I think is important.

Having sat out the 2013 season and accused the Vikings of releasing him because of his outspoken views on same-sex marriage, Kluwe was perhaps already a long shot to return to the NFL, though his numbers during his last several seasons in Minnesota were respectable. The 32-year-old has stayed in shape in the hopes of continuing his career, but hasn’t heard from any NFL clubs since his allegations became public in January.

For now then, Kluwe will focus on the legal battle with the Vikings, who upset Kluwe and Halunen by not releasing the full 150-page investigative report put together by an independent firm. According to Kluwe, the suit will be for lost past and future earnings, emotional distress and defamation of character, and will seek “in excess of $10MM.” Any money the punter may be awarded would be donated to LGBT causes.

Chris Kluwe To Sue Vikings, Mike Priefer Suspended

9:30pm: I spoke with Kluwe’s lawyer, Clayton Halunen, over the phone about his client’s situation. He told me the Vikings have not contacted him since they have released their preliminary findings, and that the lawsuit is going to be filed early next week, likely on Wednesday. As to whether Priefer’s three-game suspension is acceptable, Halunen said, “It’s something — but not enough,” noting that the only way for the Vikings to ameliorate the situation is to release the full report and give the full $1MM to LGBT causes (essentially, meet Kluwe’s previously stated terms).

I asked Halunen if he advised his client to stay off social media while the lawsuit is in flux, and he said he told Kluwe to “tweet all day long,” as he feels that Twitter is a good avenue for Kluwe to tell his side of the story. Additionally, I wondered if Kluwe’s age, salary, declining performance (at least, according to Pro Football Focus), and the presence of rookie Jeff Locke would allow Halunen to accept that Kluwe’s release could have been performance-based. Halunen said that Kluwe’s numbers declined because he “took the directive of Preifer every time he punted,” employing kicking strategies that he did not agree with at the behest of his coach. Regarding Kluwe’s salary, Halunen says the punter “would have considered taking less money” if asked by the Vikings.

8:42pm: The Vikings have released a 29-page summary of their investigation (PDF provided by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune), which makes many of the same points as the statement released earlier by the team, including that Kluwe’s release was based on performance, not his views on same-sex issues.

7:50pm: Kluwe has now responded to the Vikings’ statement, per Tomasson (Twitter links), claiming that the report is full of “lies”: “It just shows that the Vikings clearly don’t want to get to the bottom of a culture that clearly protects homophobic behavior.”

Additionally, Kluwe’s attorney says that although he knows the report may be unflattering to Kluwe, he still wants it released, and still plans to sue. Regarding the supposed July 8 email in which he asked that the report not be published, Halunen claims that he only wanted certain footnotes with personal information to be redacted, per Ben Goessling of (Twitter links).

Kluwe himself is tweeting about the situation, saying that he knows the Vikings are playing “dirty” with him, as well as admitting the Sandusky remarks.

7:36pm: According to Pro Football Talk (via Twitter), Kluwe’s lawyer, in a July 8 email, asked that the report not be released.

Also, the Vikings have released a lengthy statement (not the ~150-page report), in which they find evidence that Priefer made inappropriate remarks, but deny that the team tried to quiet Kluwe’s views or that Kluwe’s release was tied to the situation. Priefer himself offers an apology within the statement:

I owe an apology to many people – the Wilf family, the Minnesota Vikings organization and fans, my family, the LGBT community, Chris Kluwe and anyone else that I offended with my insensitive remark. I regret what has occurred and what I said. I am extremely sorry but I will learn from this situation and will work on educating others to create more tolerance and respect.

7:27pm: Kluwe has responded to Priefer’s three-game suspension, per Tomasson (Twitter links): “I think that’s completely unacceptable…Are we going to know (in what is released by Vikings) what exactly are they suspending him for?”

Additionally, a source tells Pro Football Talk that information will surface in the report that Kluwe “made light of the Jerry Sandusky situation” by engaging in inappropriate activity (Twitter links). If true, this could hurt Kluwe’s case, as well as sully his image as someone who is sensitive to such issues.

7:14pm: Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe will file a lawsuit against the Vikings as early as Monday, reports Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Kluwe will claim that he was released from the Vikings due to his candid views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

We learned on Tuesday that Kluwe, who played for Minnesota from 2005-2012, would consider dropping the suit if the Vikings released the full findings of their investigation into the matter. Additionally, he asked that the team suspend special teams coach Mike Priefer, whom Kluwe claims made homophobic remarks, for four to eight games, and that $1MM be donated to LGBT causes.

However, Kluwe’s attorney, Clayton Halunen, asserts that the Vikings will only release a “scrubbed down” verison of their report and offered to donate just $100K to LGBT groups. As for Priefer, he will be suspended three games, apologize, and attend sensitivity training, according to Master Tesfatsion of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (via Twitter). Tomasson specifies that Priefer’s sentence will be reduced to two games if he undergoes said training, and that while the coach “acknowledged” making incendiary remarks, he didn’t “flat out admit it” (Twitter links).

Per Tesfatsion, Kluwe will “claim discrimination on the grounds of human rights, religion, defamation and ‘tortious interference for contractual relations.'” The former special-teamer has stated that any money he is awarded will be given to charity, and his lawyer tells Tomasson that that amount could be significant. “We’ll go after everything he’d be entitled for his wrongful termination,’’ said Halunen. “Compensation for wages and benefits lost, emotional distress, damage to his reputation. It could be sizable. It could be over $10MM.’’

The Vikings will release a report of “decent length” tonight regarding the Kluwe ordeal, tweets Tesfatsion, although it isn’t clear if this refers to a summary of the original investigation’s findings, or simply a rebuttal to Kluwe.

Latest On Chris Kluwe, Vikings

11:07am: The Vikings have issued a statement denying Kluwe’s claim that the team is withholding the findings of the investigation. According to the statement, the team has engaged a law firm to evaluate the findings and make recommendations to the Vikings, and the club’s attorneys are scheduled to meet with Kluwe’s attorney this Thursday to discuss next steps.

“The Vikings will have further comment when the investigation is entirely complete and the team has made determinations on next steps,” the statement concludes.

At Kluwe’s press conference, meanwhile, it was announced that the punter plans to file suit against the Vikings for not releasing the report, as he had suggested to KFAN earlier today. Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweets that Kluwe will sue the Vikings for religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, defamation, and tortuous interference. According to Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune (via Twitter), Kluwe says he’ll consider dropping that lawsuit if the team releases the report — indeed, according to Pelissero (via Twitter), the punter and his attorney are painting the suit as a means for getting the club to release the report.

9:45am: Based on what he has heard, Ben Goessling of would be skeptical about the idea that the Vikings are really refusing to release the report on the Kluwe investigation. Goessling suspects that the NFL may be working with the club to determine how to release the findings, and speculates that the Vikings may want to wait until after MLB’s All-Star Game, which is taking place in Minnesota tonight, to make an announcement (all Twitter links).

8:31am: Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reported early this morning (via Twitter) that the independent investigation into Chris Kluwe‘s allegations about the Vikings organization was complete, with a press conference expected for today. However, according to Kluwe, that presser won’t be the kind he anticipated — the former Minnesota punter tweeted today that the Vikings have refused to provide a copy of the report to either Kluwe or the public.

Kluwe, 32, alleged in a January article on that his release by the Vikings came as a result of his outspoken support of gay marriage. According to Kluwe, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer “openly and privately made homophobic comments and slurs intended to intimidate” the punter while he remained on the roster.

Following Kluwe’s allegations, the Vikings hired two “highly respected Minnesota legal figures to conduct an independent investigation.” While the team initially promised to provide the findings of that investigation to Kluwe and his attorney, the Vikings have now reneged on that promise, according to the punter.

We’ve yet to hear from the Vikings, and today’s press conference, which is scheduled for 11:00am central time, could provide more clarity. For now though, it’s not a good look for the club that it appears unwilling to release the report to Kluwe or the public. After all, if the investigation cleared the franchise and its coaches of any wrongdoing, it seems there’d be no reason not to announce that publicly.

NFC Links: Kluwe, Hayden, Ponder

The Chris Kluwe investigation is coming to an end. According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the lawyers in charge of the case estimate that the process will be finished in the next ten days.

Kluwe, who claimed his 2013 release by the Vikings was related to his support for same-sex marriage, has yet to find a job this season. Former coach Leslie Frazier was fired in late December, but special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer (who Kluwe accused of making “homophobic remarks”) was retained by new coach Mike Zimmer.

Let’s see what else is happening in the NFC…

  • Christian Ponder doesn’t have better than “an outside chance” of being the Vikings starting quarterback, writes’s Ben Goessling. According to the writer, the former first-round pick hasn’t done anything “to suggest he’s changed enough to challenge for the job.”
  • D.J. Hayden missed another practice this afternoon, and Raiders coach Dennis Allen doesn’t sound too optimistic about a quick return. “It’s hard to tell,” Allen said (via Steve Corkran of The Mercury News). “Initially I was hopeful of (a quick return). Hopefully we’ll have him out here, because he needs the work.”
  • Former Lions (and current Bears) defensive end Willie Young doesn’t have any hard feeling against his former team. “They did [show interest] but we definitely broke ways on good terms,” Young said (via Michael Rothstein of “I definitely enjoyed my years here, I can say that. Thankful for the opportunity I was able to create for myself here and landing me in Chicago right now.”