SpeculationTraining Camp

10 Camp Questions: Most Likely To Be Booted?

This 10-part series focuses on the biggest questions facing the Vikings as they head into Mankato for their training camp festivities. Be sure to answer the first six questions HEREHEREHEREHERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

We only have three questions left, and this one is complex because it is hard to directly answer it without directly answering some others regarding roster makeup. Still, I have a sneaking suspicion that a Vikings special teams battle or two could end up being the talk of Mankato, and that a surprise is as likely there as anywhere else on the roster.

Before getting to the question (and the all-important poll), I wanted to take a quick look at the main guys on special teams as it stands… at the guys that currently have jobs to lose.


Hope for a renaissance at the receiver position has never been higher for fans of Patterson, which I count myself as one, and our voters already pegged him as the most likely to make the roster among Adam Thielen, Charles Johnson, and Moritz Bohringer.  Part of the reasoning there, I assume, is that he is one of the most valuable kick returners in the NFL. However, the NFL is constantly making kick returners less valuable and the Vikings are entering their final season of commitment to Patterson… if he doesn’t make serious progress as a route runner then it is easier now than ever to part ways with the young speedster.


The local fan favorite has been one of the most consistently productive punt returners for years now. Sherels has plenty of critics when it comes to his performance in the secondary, a group that has some serious talent these days, but there is no denying his value to the special teams unit from a number of angles. His abilities within the coverage unit should not be ignored even if they are overshadowed by his return man skills. However, some might speculate that Stefon Diggs could be the guy that finally sends Sherels packing if given a legitimate chance at the punt returner gig.


The guy revived Gary Anderson’s 1999 chart topper entitled “Wide Left” to end the Vikings season in 2015, but he also managed to become a bit of a celebrity and fan favorite (for some) after the hate mail faded into the past. Walsh has received tons of support (in addition to that nice pay raise last year) and there is no indication that he’s a serious candidate to lose his job this season… even if some would still prefer to see him go. The prevailing theory is that Walsh has somehow learned from the experience and is better for it while also benefiting from the move into U.S. Bank Stadium for home games.


It cannot ever be said that Chris Kluwe is an easy act to follow, I guess, and many fans wish the Vikings would find themselves a new headliner at the punter position. They snooped around some offseason options, particularly during rookie tryouts, but Locke still remains the lone punter on the roster. That could change during the preseason, though, and the only thing working in Locke’s favor is perhaps a lack of true field-flipping punters available on the open market. Locke needs to improve this year, or he needs to be replaced, so the biggest question here is just how much leash he has left.


[Insert Long Snapper Analysis Here]

Yeah, McDermott seemed to capably replace Cullen Loeffler last year, but I’ll admit I can really only recognize atrocious snaps… so maybe you all have better perspective here than I. There are no other long snappers on the roster and Mcdermott seems plenty safe at the moment.

CAMP QUESTION #8 – Which Vikings Special Teams Battle, If There Is One, Is Most Likely To End Poorly For The Incumbent?

Right now, Patterson and Sherels have the most amount of competition for their special teams jobs currently housed on the Vikings roster. However, they also have the advantage of providing some depth and value at multiple positions. The true specialists only really contribute to one phase of the game and we saw last postseason just how important that can be. So, tell us, which of these has the best chance to lose their job in Mankato this year?


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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. I disagree with your assessment that the NFL has made returners less valuable. It’s true, they have given additional incentive for returners to take touchbacks, but that additional incentive likewise provides a counterincentive to kickers (and opposing special teams coaches) to try to kick the ball just short of the end zone. The net result of the rule change will likely be *more* returns, not fewer.

    If that’s true, Patterson’s value increases even with no improvement as a receiver.

    1. Very good point about trying to pin the receiving team on the end zone. This could make directional kick-offs a thing and hurt guys with powerful legs like Blair Walsh. Heck, in this scenario you could see punters taking over kick-off duties completely in a few years.

      As for this post’s question, while I would like to see Locke compete for the job, that doesn’t seem to be likely to happen, and even if Sherels loses the punt returning gig, he’ll likely stick for depth their and in the secondary and for the coverage teams.

      1. Directional kickoffs? Risky. Out-of-bounds penalties and such…… More likely kickers are going to boot it through the endzone if they can’t pooch kick it to the 1 and pin them deep.

        It remains to be seen if the shorter KO distance will allow the coverage to smother the receiver consistently. I see a lot of fair catches, or a lot of injured returners.

    2. The NFL hasn’t exactly made secret their intentions to eliminate as many kickoff returns from a season as they can. If the new rules do indeed backfire on them, as you suggest, then they’ll correct it next year. The point was that Patterson’s main contribution to date is in an area the NFL would like to make go away.

    1. Ole, be honest… how would you celebrate if the Vikings brought him back for a six game stint to cover for Ellison while he’s on PUP?

      1. Howzit Adam. I would celebrate by personally handing Dugan his well deserved NFL MVP of the Year Award, This will occur just after Goodell hands Dugan his Super Bowl MVP Award. Those dang Swedes at the Nobel Prize Committee can reschedule.

  2. Bring back Fred Evans!
    My tow truck is long overdue for rear end overhaul

  3. Has anybody been to training camp before? I’m thinking of taking my 80 year old father-in-law. He might not have many more chances to go. Is there a lot of walking? Is there plenty of seating? Any help would be great. Thanks.

    1. Hey WTF… do me a favor and send me an email. I’ll put you in touch with some of our writers that are very familiar with the setup at camp. I’m sure they’ll be happy to answer any questions.

      1. Unreal, how dare you think to do such a thoughtful thing for an elderly gentleman. A Korean war vet maybe too. Jeez, the nerve. I would have disliked your comment too WTF, but everything I wrote was sarcasm. But I am guessing you picked up on that.

    1. Will never forget being at a game where he kicked a potential game winning field so badly that it went into the tunnel where the players enter!! That would be almost a 45 degree shank. A few months later he was arrested for smuggling heroin from Africa to the U.S. I wonder if he is still in prison?

  4. Omg. We need football. Lol. Were getting crazy… Bring back scott studwell or joey browner. Come on man. Lol