EAGAN, Minn. — When he entered the United States Air Force Academy a few years back, Austin Cutting's only goal was to serve his country.
Yet as the long snapper wrapped up his senior season, he realized he might also have a chance to play in the NFL.
Cutting will get the opportunity to potentially do both, as he **signed with the Vikings** on Monday, the same day he reported for his first training camp.
While Cutting competes for a roster spot, the 2019 seventh-round pick also will fulfill a recruiting role for the Air Force around the state of Minnesota.
"I'm grateful to be able to do both — fulfill my commitment and potentially make the team as well," Cutiting said. "I'm not going to say anything was given, but the Academy has helped me a lot, and not just with the football aspect, but everything.
"I have people there that have my back, and they've been helping me and have been awesome," Cutting added.
Cutting, who graduated as an acquisitions officer, would have been stationed down in Georgia if he hadn't been with the Vikings or another NFL team.
Instead, he'll battle incumbent Kevin McDermott for the lone long snapper job on the Vikings. McDermott joined the Vikings in 2015 and has started 63 regular-season games.
"He's been awesome. Being able to have someone who has been there and done it for a while, I'm grateful that he's here [to help me]," Cutting said. "But at the end of the day, it is a competition. I'm grateful to be in this situation."
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said Tuesday morning he was happy to get Cutting into camp and that he looks forward to seeing how the long snapper battle plays out.
"I have been in contact with the Air Force Academy, so it has been a process anytime you're dealing in that situation. I got word last Wednesday that everything was going to go through," Spielman said. "I know they have spoken about it with his obligations, but I know that we were very excited to finally get him here and get that resolved so now he can get into camp.
"That will be another very contested situation — who are long snapper is going to be — because McDermott has done a fantastic job since he has been here," Spielman added. "And Cutting has come in and done great, so that will be a unique competition as well."
Cutting played in 35 career games with the Air Force Academy and was the only long snapper selected in April's draft.
He described the past few months as a whirlwind.
"It's been crazy and a long process, but I'm grateful for it," Cutting said. "There's no guarantees, so I'm excited to be able to do my commitment as well as potentially play."