The Minnesota Vikings have hired veteran special teams coordinator Joe Marciano to fill in for Mike Priefer while Priefer serves a three-game suspension for alleged anti-gay comments, according to the Associated Press.
Priefer was suspended by Minnesota after an independent investigation showed that the coordinator made a homophobic statement during a practice. The investigation was a result of a first-person article that former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe wrote for Deadspin, alleging that Priefer had made offensive and homophobic comments directed at Kluwe.
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Marciano will serve as special teams coordinator until Priefer's return, which is expected to be Sept. 22.
Marciano has coached special teams for 28 years, most recently with the Houston Texans before he was fired along with head coach Gary Kubiak toward the end of last season.
"Our plan right now is for three weeks. Once Mike gets back then he'll come back," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said. "Joe was kind of retired. He's got family things he has to take care of. He was gracious enough to come up here and help us out and I appreciate that a lot."
Zimmer said he expects Marciano's experience in the league to be beneficial to the team, especially since Zimmer is in his first season as a head coach.
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Priefer was also ordered to take sensitivity training, and should the team choose they can reduce his suspension to two games following its completion.
- Molly Geary