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Vikings long snapper waiting for Air Force decision before he can play

EAGAN, Minn. - Austin Cutting will be with the Minnesota Vikings throughout the spring. Whether he’s with them in the fall remains to be seen.

The Vikings selected the long snapper from Air Force in the seventh round of last week’s NFL draft and he took field Friday to start a three-day rookie minicamp. But the Air Force has not cleared Cutting to play this season, and the decision process is expected to take a while.

“Going to the Academy, serving comes first; then going to the NFL, that actually comes second," Cutting said. "But it’s an honor be drafted, for sure."

Cutting has a two-year service commitment, Air Force associate athletics director for communications Troy Garnhart said this week. "He will absolutely serve and may have an opportunity to play in the NFL" Garnhart said, adding that there won’t be “a resolution for some time.”

“We’re not trying to get out of any of (the commitment)," Cutting said. “We’re trying to work with the academy, and they’re talking, trying to figure it out. But as of now, I am serving 24 months, and that’s how it is."

Cutting, scheduled to work in Air Force acquisitions, will take part in Minnesota’s organized team activities and a mandatory minicamp, but he will miss an OTA on May 30 when he goes through graduation in Colorado Springs.

Cutting has signed an injury protection agreement for spring drills, and does not plan for now to sign a contract unless he is cleared to play by the Air Force.

“It went real well, it was fun," Cutting said of Friday's practice. “It was just good to be out there for the first time, so I loved it."

Of the team's 12 draft picks, Cutting is one of four from the Mountain West Conference. Another is running back Alexander Mattison, a third-round pick from Boise State who is excited about Cutting’s story.

“My dad served in the Air Force," Mattison said. “My granddad served in the Air Force. So, there’s some blood there.”

Cutting has been working at long snapper since he was a freshman at Central High School in Keller, Texas, where he also played tackle. But he was exclusively a long snapper at Air Force.

He began to think about the possibility of playing in the NFL before his senior year, but those thoughts were always tempered because of his two-year service commitment.

“I know that I first have to serve, and that’s where my priorities are, so that’s how the situation’s playing out," he said.