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Outspoken punter Kluwe released by Vikings

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Veteran punter Chris Kluwe was released by the Vikings today. He announced his dismissal via Twitter.

The well-read punter makes a "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" reference as he bids the state adieu:

They wanted to go into a different direction ... that's the nature of the NFL," Kluwe told KFAN-FM 100.3. "I got eight years. That's a lot more than a lot of people can say.

"I'm going to miss my teammates. I made a lot of friends."

In an official news release, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman wished Kluwe well, saying today's decision will allow the veteran extra time to sign with another team.

The Vikings will go with  UCLA's Jeff Locke, who Minnesota selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.

Star Tribune reporter Chip Scoggins writes that the move isn't just based on a younger kicker replacing an older kicker.

He believes, in part, that the move is based on Winter Park not enjoying Kluwe's willingness to take a stand on a variety of issues, including gay rights, player safety or Ray Guy's omission from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

No one expects Kluwe to be out of work for more than a few minutes.

As NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal put it: "NFL teams are willing to overlook long criminal records when hiring a player if that player is talented. They certainly can look past the crime of having an opinion."

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