Air Force grad Austin Cutting beats out Vikings' incumbent long snapper for the job

By DANE MIZUTANI | Pioneer Press | Published: August 13, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — Perhaps the most awkward moment so far for Vikings rookie long snapper Austin Cutting came on Sunday afternoon when he found out incumbent long snapper Kevin McDermott had been cut.

Never mind the day Cutting was selected in the seventh round of the 2019 draft presumably to replace McDermott. Or the first day of minicamp when he was taking pointers from the man whose job he was trying to take. Or the dog days of training camp when it started to become more and more clear that he was going to win the position battle.

All of that was a breeze for Cutting because McDermott was a consummate professional throughout the entire process. Instead, it was the aftermath that was hard to process.

“It’s a rough thing to go through,” Cutting said. “He’s someone that has taught me so much and has been here so long.”

No matter if he had questions about the position on the field, or questions about life off the field, Cutting knew he could always lean on McDermott for guidance. He did so many times over the past few months and is grateful for that experience.

“He fully took me in,” Cutting said. “I can’t thank him enough for that because he’s helped me through a lot of things. He did a really, really good job about that.”

As for the roster move itself, it wasn’t surprising considering the Vikings invested a draft pick in Cutting, a rookie out of Air Force, and save about $850,000 against the salary cap by releasing McDermott.

It should also help the snap-hold-kick process for Cutting to get 100 percent of the reps rather than splitting them with McDermott on a daily basis.

“We figured we had to get the battery down so we weren’t using two snappers in and out,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “It’s not anything Kevin did. He was a terrific team guy and an unbelievable person. It’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

Aside from that, Zimmer noted how Cutting was younger, and cheaper than McDermott, and had a little more velocity on his snaps.

That’s something Cutting has prided himself on, and as much as he will miss McDermott, he emphasized how he’s honored to be part of the Vikings moving forward.

“It’s good to be able to get in there and get used to everyone and all that,” Cutting said, adding that he’s made a concerted effort to enjoy every aspect of training camp so far. “You can’t be too uptight all the time about everything here and there. Just being able to enjoy it and go through it is better than being uptight about it.”

That said, Cutting knows he has a job to do at the end of the day. Asked point blank whether he was ready to be the long snapper, he unsurprisingly went back to his military days, responding, “Yes sir.”

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