Will Kluwe, Edinger Be Special?

Rookie Chris Kluwe has won the punting job … for now. Is he feeling the pressure with his first regular-season game? Paul Edinger already won a tough competition, and he's hoping a couple days of rest for his legs will have him fresh for his first regular-season game in purple.

Chris Kluwe has never met a dome he didn't like. Of course, he has hardly met any domes.

After apartment shopping in Seattle last weekend once he learned he would be a member of the Seahawks practice squad, Kluwe now finds himself calling the Metrodome his home and planning to make his NFL punting debut Sunday when the Vikings host Tampa Bay.

It is unclear how long Kluwe will be a Viking. After signing him, the team tried out three veteran punters but did not sign any of them. Veteran Darren Bennett, whose release earlier this week was followed by the signing of Kluwe, is still available too, and could eventually re-join the Vikings.

But for a week or two, anyway, the job is Kluwe's. And he hopes to parlay the temporary tryout into a season-long affair.

Let the vagabond life of professional kicking begin.

"I'm not experienced enough to comment on being a vagabond, but from what I've heard from older guys is that kickers tend to be moving around quite a bit and jumping from one team to the next," Kluwe said. "Hopefully, I can do well enough here to make it more of a permanent situation."

Kluwe is a rookie and punted last fall for UCLA. His punts averaged 43.4 yards as a senior last year and he landed 25 inside the 20-yard line. He was one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, the Heisman Trophy of sorts for college punters.

Because he played in the Pac-10 and called the Rose Bowl his home for four years, Kluwe rarely has kicked indoors. In fact, Sunday morning will be the first time Kluwe has ever stepped foot inside the Metrodome.

"I've never been in the Metrodome before," Kluwe said. "I got a chance to play in the Superdome in New Orleans when the Seahawks played their preseason game there (Aug. 12). I love domes because they're so superior for kickers because obviously there's no wind. That makes it so much easier to kick."

Kluwe is excited for his regular-season NFL debut. But if he gets his way, fans won't see much of him.

"Hopefully our offense will be so good that I only have to kick one or two times," he said. "But the key thing for me is to not over-pump myself up and just to go out there and try to do what I know how to do. This is one of those situations where I do need to kick well."

Place kicker Paul Edinger knows all about that situation.

He has been in that place-kicking/kickoff pressure cooker for six weeks. You could say that Edinger is already 1-0, having fended off a preseason duel with Aaron Elling for the Vikings' roster spot.

"That didn't do anything but make both me and Aaron better," Edinger said. "There was no room for errors for either one of us. We matched each other every day."

Edinger had an impressive preseason that was muddied last weekend in Seattle, when he missed a field goal and barely made a chip shot to win the game. But that's in the past, Edinger said.

"As with any game, you have to put it behind you," Edinger said. "I hate missing field goals. I can't stand it, but it's part of the game. Hopefully it's not too much a part of my game this year."

Edinger is ready to turn the corner and kick when it matters most — during the regular season.

"I haven't been at my top level during kickoffs, but I've had a few days off to get my legs fresh for the game," Edinger said. "I'm not concerned with kickoffs or field goals right now. I'm kicking pretty well."

Viking Update Top Stories