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Chris Kluwe's exit due to play, Vikings asst. coach says

When the Minnesota Vikings made the decision to release Chris Kluwe, it was speculated that the punter's outspokenness on issues outside football contributed to his exit.

Not so, says Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who told reporters Wednesday that the decision was based purely on performance.

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"It was more consistency and productivity," Priefer said from Vikings minicamp, according to KSTP-AM.

Priefer noted in his postseason evaluation he felt "very strongly" that the team needed to move on from Kluwe, who served as Minnesota's punter for eight seasons.

Priefer wasn't known to hold his tongue about Kluwe's decision-making. After the punter was fined in December for altering his jersey to show his Hall of Fame support for fellow punter Ray Guy, Priefer told reporters the "distractions are getting old for me."

"A lot of people like to write and report that he and I didn't get along," Priefer said. "I have a lot of respect for Chris Kluwe. I think, based on what he's done in his career, as a man and as an athlete, and for anybody that stands up for what he believes in like Chris did, I have a lot of respect for guys like that."

Kluwe is coming off a strong statistical season by his standards, but he was a middling performer from a league standpoint. Priefer says Kluwe's outspokenness didn't hurt him. We don't imagine it helped.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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