NFL Offseason 2012: Vikings Cut Ryan Longwell; Likely to Start Blair Walsh

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NFL Offseason 2012: Vikings Cut Ryan Longwell; Likely to Start Blair Walsh
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Ryan Longwell's tenure with the Minnesota Vikings has come to an unfortunate end. 

According to the Duluth News Tribune (quoting a tweet from Tom Pelissero) the Vikings have cut their starting kicker. 

The Minnesota Vikings have cut kicker Ryan Longwell, according to Twitter posts from staff at AM 1500 ESPN radio in Minneapolis.

Longwell, 37, played six seasons with Minnesota after spending the first nine years of his career with the Green Bay Packers. He has played in every one of his team's regular-season games—240 straight—throughout his career.

Although Longwell has had a very successful tenure with the Vikings, they have decided to go in a new direction by giving the starting job to 2012 sixth-round pick Blair Walsh. 

The Vikings shocked plenty of people when they selected Walsh in the sixth round. Many expected Longwell to stay with the Vikings despite a bad season in 2011. 

Although Longwell did well as a Viking, it was time for a change. This was a great move by the Vikings because a rebuilding team needs to make sure they alter just about everything that is not working the way it should be. Longwell was very accurate, but he would never be able to knock down long-distance field goals and that is an important part of the game. 

The ex-Viking kicker took to Twitter to thank all of his fans. 

To all in Viking Nation. Can't thank you enough for your cheers over the past 6 years! You've been awesome to me and my family. God Bless.

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Longwell was great when he was not asked to kick something longer than a 50-yard field goal, however, when the Vikings needed a big-time field goal from long range, he would not be able to provide it.

Imagine how different the 2010 NFC Championship would have gone if the Vikings had someone who would be comfortable kicking a 55-yard field goal. The Vikings would have likely won it there and would not have to worry about Brett Favre throwing an interception across his body. 

Walsh was 10 out of 17 from above 50 yards in his career as a Georgia Bulldog. He needs to be a bit more accurate than that in the NFL if he wants to justify the move by the Vikings. 

It is truly the end of an era in Minnesota, but a change needed to be made. Hopefully for the Viking faithful, Walsh could provide the team with the necessary distance and accuracy. 

Sammy Sucu is a Featured Columnist for the WWE and the Minnesota Vikings. Sammy also writes for the NFL, fantasy football and the Los Angeles Lakers. You can follow him on Twitter and follow all of his coverage during WWE events and Viking games for live updates and analysis. 

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