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Vikings rookie Cutting to be used for Air Force recruiting while being permitted to play in NFL

Air Force's Austin Cutting, on the sidelines during a game against Army at West Point, N.Y., in 2018.

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

By CHRIS TOMASSON | (St. Paul, Minn.) Pioneer Press | Published: July 21, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Tribune News Service) — Austin Cutting’s agent said Sunday the Vikings rookie long snapper from Air Force will serve his required two-year military commitment concurrently with being allowed to play in the NFL, and will be used for recruiting.

The Pioneer Press reported last Thursday that Cutting, a seventh-round draft choice, was cleared to play this season in the NFL and would sign his contract Monday and start training camp with the Vikings on Tuesday. His agent, Darren Deloatche, confirmed that Sunday.

Cutting will sign a four-year, $2.59 million contract, which will include a $74,576 signing bonus. He will be the last of 12 Minnesota draft picks from April to sign.

Cutting is a second lieutenant in the Air Force. Deloatche said his initial job title, when he officially begins his two-year military stint next week, will be first-year recruiting lieutenant. His station will be the Air Force Academy outside Colorado Springs, Colo., but he will be “assigned in Minnesota at the present time.’’ If Cutting doesn’t make the Vikings roster and ends up on another team, he could live at the site of that team.

“They are going to utilize him as a recruiting officer,’’ Deloatche said. “(Cutting is) thankful. It’s a weight off his shoulders at this stage. … He’s definitely excited about this opportunity to compete in the NFL right now.”

Cutting will compete with incumbent Kevin McDermott to be the Vikings’ long snapper.

“All the parties are benefiting by this,” Deloatche said. “Austin is getting this opportunity right here, right now, in the NFL. The Vikings are benefiting because they’ve got a legitimate long-snapping battle in camp. And all branches of the military are benefiting because student-athletes are going to see that, with the impending, new regulation that is going to eventually be established by the Department of Defense, if they have the talent to play professionally, they will get that opportunity when they first come out of school.”

President Donald Trump announced a change in policy June 26 calling for cadets and midshipmen attending service academies or earning commissions through ROTC to be able to pursue professional sports careers immediately rather than wait two years. He called for it to go into effect in late October.

“As I recently stated, these student-athletes should be able to defer their military service obligations until they have completed their professional sports careers,” Trump wrote. “Such cadets and midshipmen have a short window of time to take advantage of their athletic talents during which playing professional sports is realistically possible.”

Deloatche said he believed Cutting would have been cleared to play regardless of Trump’s action, but that it expedited matters.

Deloatche said attorneys from the Pentagon two weeks ago went to the Air Force Academy to discuss Cutting’s situation with academy officials, and that word came down last Wednesday that he had been cleared to play in the NFL in 2019 and beyond.

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