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Chris Kluwe to compete as Minnesota Vikings' punter

Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe finds himself in a fight for his roster spot after the team used a fifth-round pick during the 2013 NFL Draft on UCLA's Jeff Locke.

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On Saturday, Kluwe said he simply wants a chance to compete for the job. On Sunday, the eight-year veteran -- and outspoken supporter for same-sex marriage -- wondered aloud if there's something else behind the Vikings' choice to add another punter.

"It's a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrests, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut," Kluwe told ProFootballTalk.com, on Sunday via text message.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman insists Kluwe's political leanings didn't impact Minnesota's draft haul.

"It has nothing to do with anything Chris Kluwe is off the field," Spielman told reporters Saturday, via The Star Tribune. "When we're making decisions, we're purely making them, trying to bring in the best competition possible regardless of position. When we brought in the first three (first-round picks), we're trying to create competition and see if they can upgrade us.

"This was just another normal personnel move. It had nothing to do with Chris Kluwe's off-field concerns. I have no issues if Chris Kluwe wants to express his opinion. That's his right. That's his freedom of speech. This is just a football decision to bring in a guy to come in to compete."

Kluwe ruffled feathers last season with his (frankly, justified) one-man mission to elect punter Ray Guy into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was left to say, "To me, it's getting old. He's got to focus on punting and holding."

Kluwe is a smart fellow. He knows that drafting linebackers, wideouts and pass rushers is a different ball of wax than grabbing the first punter in the draft. No matter why the Vikings did it, Kluwe's in a fight to stick around in Minnesota.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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