With Chris Kluwe facing surgery, Vikings sign punter T.J. Conley
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It's unlikely Chris Kluwe's upcoming knee surgery will cut into offseason practices. But the Minnesota Vikings are bringing in another punter, at least to develop.
T.J. Conley, who sat out last season after being cut by the New York Jets, posted on Twitter on Wednesday that he is "extremely ex(c)ited and proud to say that I am now a member of the Minnesota Vikings!"
The Vikings confirmed the signing of Conley to a reserve/future contract, along with the signing of rookie cornerback Greg McCoy, who has spent time with Chicago and Arizona.
Conley, 27, beat out Chris Bryan and punted in all 16 games for the Jets in 2011. The Idaho product punted 92 times and tied for 30th in gross average (42.7 yards) and ranked 20th in net (38.8).
The Jets cut Conley on Sept. 4 and he was out of the NFL all year. He had tryouts with Dallas, Detroit and the Vikings, who worked him outwhile Kluwe was going through a rough patch in late October.
Kluwe, 31, has been the Vikings' punter since 2005. He grossed 45.0 yards on 72 punts and posted a career-best net average of 39.7 despite battling a knee injury in his non-kicking leg much of the season.
Coach Leslie Frazier said on Tuesday that Kluwe will undergo surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee. An NFL source said on Wednesday the surgery is scheduled for Jan. 31 and the recovery time could range from a couple weeks to a couple months, depending what doctors find.
The Vikings won't begin organized team activity practices until May. Kluwe is entering the final year of his contract, with a scheduled base salary of $1.4 million and a $50,000 workout bonus due in 2013.
McCoy, 24, played at TCU. He was a seventh-round draft pick by Chicago in April. He was waived in August and subsequently spent time on the Cardinals' practice squad.