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Minnesota Vikings rookie to serve military commitment while playing his first two seasons  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

Minnesota Vikings long snapper Austin Cutting might be staring down a busier rookie season than your average NFL player. 

The seventh-round draft pick will be serving a mandatory two-year military commitment with the Air Force throughout the first two seasons of his professional playing career, his agent told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. 

The 22-year-old will be used in a recruiting role for the Air Force, his agent told the Pioneer Press. 

Cutting, the only long snapper selected in this year's draft, is expected to sign a four-year, $2.59 million contract, the Pioneer Press reported. However, if he were to end up on another team, the terms of his military commitment would remain the same.

“All the parties are benefiting by this,” Cutting's agent, Darren Deloatche told the Pioneer Press. “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 with two talented individuals. And all branches of the military are benefiting because student-athletes are going to see that ... if they have the talent to play professionally, they will get that opportunity when they first come out of school.”

The Air Force graduate's NFL eligibility was up in the air at the time of his draft selection; graduates of the academy are normally required to fulfill two years of service time.

Although, exceptions like the one Cutting was granted have been made before, like with recent Navy grad and New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona. 

Cutting's unique agreement with the Air Force and Vikings comes in the wake of President Donald Trump tweaking the postgraduate requirements for military academy graduates who pursue professional sports. The changes, scheduled to go into effect in October, allow graduates to play professional sports immediately without having to fulfill the two-year service requirement. 

Deloatche told the Pioneer Press that Cutting likely would have been cleared to play even without Trump's policy change, but the president's actions only helped the cause.

Cutting now faces a position battle with fellow long snapper Kevin McDermott, which is expected to play out in training camp.

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