EAGAN, Minn. — Two NFL sources tells KARE 11 that Mike Priefer will not return as the Minnesota Vikings' special teams coach.
Those sources are backed up by multiple reports that Priefer's rocky tenure with the NFL club is over. The Star Tribune's Mark Craig says Priefer's contract was up following the 2018-19 season, and the Vikings opted not to bring him back.
Priefer served as Vikings special teams from 2011 to 2018.
Perhaps the nail in Priefer's coffin was the short and failed tenure of Daniel Carlson, a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft. That is a high pick to spend on a kicker, but Carlson came in holding a number of NCAA records and a reputation for having a strong leg. Despite that, Carlson was cut after missing three crucial field goals against the Packers, resulting in a tie that may have played a role in the Vikings missing out on a playoff berth.
Priefer also worked with placekicker Blair Walsh, whose miss against Seattle in 2015 to lose a crucial playoff game and end the Vikings Super Bowl hopes that year. Walsh was cut the following season after a horrendous start. Some wondered
His tenure was also marked by uneven coverage issues, but did thrive at times with explosive kick returners Percy Harvin and Cordarrelle Patterson.
One very public black eye for Priefer came during a dust up with outspoken punter Chris Klewe over remarks the coach made that Klewe felt were homophobic. Priefer was suspended for the first three games of the 2014 season and was forced to undergo sensitivity training.