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MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Priefer, who has been accused by former punter Chris Kluwe of making homophobic remarks during the 2012 season, will keep his job as special teams coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings.
Priefer is part of new coach Mike Zimmer's staff, which was announced Thursday.
The Vikings are conducting an independent investigation into Kluwe's allegations, and investigators had talked to nearly two dozen current and former employees as of a Jan. 25 statement from team ownership.
At that time, Kluwe's attorney Clayton Halunen said he expected the investigation would last another month, potentially meaning the Vikings had decided to keep Priefer on staff for the time being. Halunen said on Jan. 25 that it'd be "very irresponsible" if the Vikings decided to keep Priefer before the investigation was completed.
The decision to retain Priefer, however, could help investigators finish their work, because they'll presumably have easier access to Priefer.
On Thursday, Halunen said the decision to retain Priefer "suggests to us the Vikings are not sincere in efforts to get to the truth" and added he was meeting with Kluwe on Thursday to weigh the possibility of a lawsuit against the team, though 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.
At the very least, though, Halunen said 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.
|Mike Priefer will continue in his role as special teams coordinator on new coach Mike Zimmer's staff.|
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 retain 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 -- who was an assistant defensive backs coach with the Cincinnati Bengals when his father was the team's defensive coordinator -- 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, as had been previously reported.