Minnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will return to work Monday after completing sensitivity training during his two-week suspension.
The team suspended him for three weeks, a term that could be reduced to two weeks with his participation in sensitivity training, following an investigation into an anti-gay comment he made in the presence of former punter Chris Kluwe.
“The decision by Vikings ownership follows extensive conversations with the independent professional consultants retained to conduct individualized anti-harassment, diversity and sexual orientation training with Coach Priefer,” the Vikings said in a statement. “Those consultants have conveyed to the team that Coach Priefer was fully and thoughtfully engaged throughout the process and successfully completed the program.”
The Vikings had several special teams breakdowns in their 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, including a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown and not enough players on the field during a punt.
“(Priefer) is one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL so definitely there’s going to be a difference,” kicker Blair Walsh said. “We had the right personnel here and our assistant coach did a good enough job to keep our game plans the same. Joe has enough credit to his name that he should do a good job as well. What happened today was not good. Not good for our unit and not good for us in general.”
During Priefer’s absence, longtime NFL special teams coordinator Joe Marciano was hired as a consultant to take over for Priefer on a temporary basis.
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Vikings reinstate Priefer after suspension
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