Monday, June 26, 2017

kai forbath

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings Minicamp Recap – Day 1

The first day of the Vikings June minicamp was held Tuesday morning at Winter Park. The players did not wear pads, yet the practice featured an intense 2-hour session of full-team scrimmages and situational football.

After the workout, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer spoke to the press. He gave insight on the state of the team and provided multiple player updates.

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WARNING: Do Not Draft Kickers & Punters

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a bit of a special teams quagmire with the NFL draft quickly approaching.

Blair Walsh, a sixth-round pick in 2012, was notably released this past November and subsequently replaced by former undrafted free-agent kicker Kai Forbath. The Jeff Locke roller coaster, which began with the Vikings selecting the former UCLA punter during the fifth round in 2013, came to a decisive end when he bolted for Indianapolis during free agency this offseason. He has since been replaced on Minnesota’s roster by a pair of previously undrafted punters in Texas Tech’s Taylor Symmank and Boston College’s Ryan Quigley.

Forbath, who connected on 15 of 15 field-goal tries and 11 of 14 extra-point attempts after joining Minnesota ahead of Week 11 in 2016, offers — at the very least — a short-term solution to the Vikings’ kicking situation. Symmank and the recently-signed Quigley, on the other hand, are set to battle it out for the punting job vacated by Locke, but — similar to Forbath — do not necessarily represent definitive long-term options.

Point being, Minnesota is potentially (still) in the market for an upgrade at kicker, punter or both — and the Vikings should refrain from investing any of their very limited draft capital on either special teams position during any round of the 2017 NFL draft.

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About the Labor: A Minnesota Vikings Podcast — Episode 38

Logo designed by Steve Danielson

BJ Reidell and Drew Mahowald review the Minnesota Vikings’ 2016 special teams performance and take a look at what might be to come in the future.

PRIMARY TALKING POINTS

  • Remembering Blair Walsh
  • How good was Kai Forbath?
  • Jeff Locke’s impressive season
  • Marcus “cockroach” Sherels becoming one of the best punt returners in the league
  • Who returns kicks if Cordarrelle Patterson leaves?

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Cordarrelle Patterson, Marcus Sherels "Return" to Top of Special Teams Rankings

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Keeping the positive energy going with our third installment in a series recapping the greatest moments of the Minnesota Vikings’ tumultuous 2016 season. 

The Minnesota Vikings may have struggled to convert extra point attempts at a high rate and Blair Walsh certainly earned his release amid the 2016 season, but just about every other special teams group was exceptional. Walsh’ replacement Kai Forbath, however, has absolutely no clue how it feels to miss a field goal as a member of the Vikings, having converted all 15 of his attempts in Minnesota.

Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels continued their reign as the best at their respective return positions and combine to form the most lethal return specialist combination in professional football — and no, this is not debatable because it’s as close to fact as a subjective statement can be.

Even punter Jeff Locke, who I have literally been saying screaming should be released by the Vikings since 2014, produced both his best and most consistent season as a professional.

While there were moments the team would take a mulligan on — Adam Thielen’s fumble on a punt return against Dallas, in particular — each of the aforementioned elements plus Patterson’s flat-out dominant efforts as a gunner, Mike Priefer’s unit was about as good as it gets in the NFL.

Many teams don’t produce five highlight-reel special teams plays over the duration of an entire season, but the Vikings could put together a nice collection with just their snaps against the Arizona Cardinals. Without further ado, here are our Vikings Top-5 Special Teams Plays in 2016.

Be sure to check out our previous rankings as well, and keep an eye out for the remaining articles in our series highlighting the most thrilling Vikings moments from the 2016 season:

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Five thoughts on the Vikings' 8-8 season.

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

As the 2016 Vikings season marched toward a feeble and joyless ending with a meaningless game against a similarly disinterested divisional opponent, it seemed fitting that things couldn’t just end without one more big dose of weird. In a year rife with peculiarities and distractions, from the midseason resignation of the offensive coordinator to the emergency eye surgery for the head coach, and of course the borderline comedic avalanche of injuries, the Vikings’ season-ending 38-10 victory over the Bears was overshadowed by a demonstration in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline that included protesters hanging from the rafters of U.S. Bank Stadium while the game went on underneath.

In a normal season, such a protest would be a bizarre outlier. But for fans who have followed the Vikings through what seems like every imaginable oddity in 2016, the display was met with solemn nods and casual acceptance. Of course it would end this way.

It’s been a long year.

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