Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 5/7/12

Minnesota Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell converts a field goal against the Washington Redskins on ESPN Monday Night Football September 11, 2006 in Washington. The Vikings won 19 - 16. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
The Minnesota Vikings have released 16-year veteran kicker Ryan Longwell. The surprising move was made Monday, a little more than a week after the team drafted Georgia kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round. Shortly after Longwell said goodbye to Vikings fans on Twitter, the team announced the decision in a brief news release with a prepared statement from coach Leslie Frazier thanking Longwell for his work and wishing him well. Longwell signed a four-year contract last summer that called for a $1.75 million salary this season. Over just six years with the Vikings, Longwell recorded 633 points, third in franchise history. His 94.4 field-goal percentage over the 2009 and 2010 seasons was the best in the NFL, though he slipped a little last year with 22 of 28 tries.
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