Vikings cutting Ryan Longwell makes little sense on any level

What the Vikings did recently is a real head-scratcher. After drafting Georgia kicker Blair Walsh with a sixth-round pick, they released 15-year veteran Ryan Longwell.

We're talking about a guy who had been with the Vikings for six seasons and made 135 of 157 field goals -- an 85.9 percent success rate. Sure, Longwell started to slump last season with 22 of 28 kicks made, but at the very least he would have been excellent training camp competition for Walsh, who made 60 percent of his field goals at Georgia and obviously has never been tested at the pro level.

But here's the strangest part: Many people reported that the Vikings would save $1.75 million on the cap, but because his release accelerated his signing bonus, the team is still charged that amount. The Vikings won't save a dime.

When it comes to negotiating stadium deals, the Vikings seem to be doing OK. When it comes to kickers, the Vikings might need some help. One hundred games last season were decided by three points or fewer. I don't know about you, but I'd be nervous gifting the kicking job to a rookie instead of having him fight a veteran for it -- especially since I'm not saving any cap space either way.

Pat Kirwan has been around the league since 1972, serving in a variety of roles. He was a scout for the Cardinals and Buccaneers, a coach for the Jets as well as the team's Director of Player Administration where he negotiated contracts and managed the team's salary cap. He is the author of Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look, and the host of Sirius NFL Radio's Moving the Chains.
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