Minneapolis, MN, United States (4E Sports) – The Minnesota Vikings have retained special teams coordinator Mike Priefer despite being accused of making homophobic remarks during the 2012 season by former punter Chris Kluwe.
Priefer’s name was mentioned when new coach Mike Zimmer announced his staff for next season Thursday.
Recently, the Vikings announced that they are conducting an independent investigation into Kluwe’s allegations, and investigators had talked to nearly two dozen current and former employees.
Kluwe’s attorney Clayton Halunen said the decision to retain Priefer “suggests to us the Vikings are not sincere in efforts to get to the truth”. He was meeting with Kluwe to weigh the possibility of a lawsuit against the team.
However, Halunen said it might be more prudent to wait for the results of the investigation in the next month or so. Kluwe also alleged that he was released before the season as a result of being outspoken in support of same-sex marriage.
For Halunen, the Vikings should have suspended Priefer during the investigation, rather than letting him continue working.
“There’s no risk to the team. He’s not going anywhere,” Halunen said. “They have all the leverage. As a standard way of operating, a business generally would not make this type of decisions. It’s so contrary to the way things are done that it raises huge red flags about the way they are going about their business.”
Priefer would return for his fourth season after helping the Vikings identify two Pro Bowl special teamers — kicker Blair Walsh and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson — in the last two drafts.
Priefer is one of seven holdovers from coach Leslie Frazier’s 2013 staff; receivers coach George Stewart, offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken and offensive quality control coach Klint Kubiak also retained their jobs.
Kubiak also will be assistant receivers coach, while former assistant quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski becomes tight ends coach. Former assistant to the head coach Jeff Howard is now a defensive assistant.
As expected, Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner both have their sons as part of the staff. Former Cleveland Browns receivers coach Scott Turner will be the Vikings’ quarterbacks coach, and Adam Zimmer will coach Minnesota’s linebackers.
The Vikings also confirmed multiple reports that former Miami Dolphins linebackers coach George Edwards will be their defensive coordinator. Former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray will be defensive backs coach.