It's the end of an era of sorts for the Minnesota Vikings. While that's a phrase rarely used for tight ends, let alone blocking tight ends, it's certainly apt when talking about Jim Kleinsasser. On Friday, the Star Tribune reported that Kleinsasser planned to retire from the NFL after this season, after spending 13 years not just playing in the NFL, but playing wearing the Vikings purple.
Kleinsasser is calling it a career on his own terms, while he still feels like he's totally healthy and could return for a 14th season if he wanted to. Kleinsasser had some quotes about the retirement, and he explains it below:
"I still feel like I can play," Kleinsasser said Thursday. "I'm walking away with two legs that work great and my head is still intact, so I think I feel good about leaving the game right now and just kind of moving on."
He was drafted in the second round in 1999, taken with the 44th overall pick and has been a starter as a blocking tight end for all of his 13 years. He's been one of the better blocking tight ends around the league and that's not really up for debate. His presence will certainly be missed in the locker room and most definitely on the field.
Kleinsasser has been the blocker for 1000-yard rushers such as Adrian Peterson, Michael Bennett, Robert Smith and Chester Taylor, and has a respectable 1688 yards and six touchdowns over his career as a blocker.