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MINNEAPOLIS -LongtimeVikings punter and high-profile activistChris Kluwe announced Monday that he has been released by the team.

Kluwe said goodbye to Minnesota via Twitter, "So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish,"followed by a second tweet that said,"Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years. I wouldn't have traded it for anything."

The Vikings drafted UCLA punter Jeff Lockein the fifth round of this year's NFL Draft causing Kluwe to predict that the writing was on the wall and he would be released.

"Chris has meant a great deal to the Vikings both on and off the field in his eight seasons here," said Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman in a written statement. "He contributed to many victories and we wish Chris and his family the best and thank him for his contributions to the Vikings organization. Out of respect to Chris, we decided to release him now and allow time for him to sign with another team."

While Kluwe was paid for his punting, he became better known as a gay rights activist, becoming embroiled in a high-profile flap with a Maryland lawmakerwho wrote a letter to the owner of the Baltimore Ravens telling him to control his players and what they said about gay rights.

In the months since Kluwe has become a media sensation forhis frank, in-your-face interviews and colorful comments on Twitter.

Kluwe was with the Vikings from 2005 to 2013. In 2007, Wikipedia sayshe signed a $8.3 million contract extension through the 2013 season.

If he sticks,Locke is expected to earn approximately one third of what Kluwe would have.

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