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Vikings Training Camp Primer: Specialists

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The Vikings' specialists won't take long to analyze, because there are only going to be three of them in camp for the Vikings this summer. So, we'll just look at who they are.

The long snapper is Cullen Loeffler, who is one of the longer tenured Vikings, having signed with the team in 2004. You don't hear much about the long snapper on most teams, but the drop off from Loeffler from Matt Katula (who the Vikings signed after Loeffler got "douchepickled" against the Atlanta Falcons towards the end of the 2011 season) was quite noticeable. Loeffler is healthy and ready to go again, however, and hopefully we'll have another season of not having to discuss of whether or not the Vikings should make a change at long snapper.

Chris Kluwe will handle the punting duties for the Vikings this year, as he has since 2005. Kluwe has been a pretty good punter since coming over as an undrafted free agent before the 2005 season, but he has become just as well known for his online exploits. (Seriously, if you're not following him on Twitter, you're doing yourself a disservice.) Kluwe will continue to handle the punting for the foreseeable future, and will continue to do a solid job.

The big story as far as special teams are concerned in Training Camp will be the official beginning of The Blair Walsh Project. Kicker Blair Walsh, taken by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of the University of Georgia, is the lone placekicker in camp this year. It was thought that Walsh would compete with incumbent Ryan Longwell for the job, but the Vikings surprised a lot of people by releasing Longwell in early May, handing the job to Walsh. Special teams coach Mike Priefer apparently liked what he saw out of Walsh enough to make him the kicker going forward. The team has announced that there won't be any competition for Walsh in camp, in an effort to allow him to build chemistry with Loeffler and Kluwe (who will continue to serve as the holder) going forward. Walsh is just another part of the big youth movement the Vikings appear to be going with from this point forward.

And that's about all there is. Loeffler, Klwue, and Walsh will all make the team, barring injury, because. . .well, there's nobody else competing for their spots.

Positions on the 53-man roster accounted for: 30 out of 53

With that, we're going to take the weekend off from our projections, and come back with the defense next week, including our final projection (during which we may swap out a few players for roster-balancing purposes) one week from today.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.