Longwell wants to keep kicking for Vikings, expects free agency

Ryan Longwell has a plan, and it involves kicking field goals for the Minnesota Vikings. Whether they'll want him to do so is another matter.

The veteran place-kicker's five-year contract with the Vikings has expired, and although he's ready to return to the Twin Cities, Longwell told Fox Sports North he expects to become an unrestricted free agent once the NFL's labor impasse is solved.

"Our full intention to go back to Minnesota and put together another good stretch of years up there," he told the television station. "It does seem like a really good fit. I am a firm believer in the way coach Frazier approaches coaching and life and approaches people. ...

"(My wife and I) have learned patience being free agents. We don't know where we are going to play; we don't know where we are going to be. So there has been an element of learning for Sarah and I of being patient."

Longwell, 36, who has converted 43 of 46 field-goal attempts the past two years, has gone through the free-agency process before. He signed with the Vikings in 2006 after nine seasons with the Green Bay Packers, so he knows there's a possibility he could end up anywhere -- or nowhere.

"You have to be ready for something else, just in case," he said. "Whether I play one more game or five or 10 more years, who knows? But you want to leave a legacy of leadership, and in the spiritual realm, that is obviously very important to us."

The spiritual realm is most important for Longwell, who calls the lockout "a blessing" in that it has enabled him to "invest in our family." They vacationed at a Christian family dude ranch in Estes Park, Colo., and it provided an emotional foundation as he prepares for the next step in his career.

"It was really, really special, a good time of growing and just pushing the pause button on your life and resetting before we go into what looks like will be really crazy time in the next month or two," Longwell said. "You realize we are extremely blessed to do what we do. To be doing it for as long as I have, you realize how small of a percentage of people get to do what I have done now going on 15 years."

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