The Minnesota Vikings may finally be on the brink of solving their kicking woes. Sound familiar? We’ve all been let down before, but a new strategy by Rick Spielman seems foolproof as the regular season approaches.
It’s been years, even decades, since the Vikings last had consistent kicking and punting. Through all the heartbreak, Spielman has tried training camp competitions, midseason acquisitions, and even the draft to fix the problem. Only two weeks ago, Slick Rick traded a draft pick to Baltimore for kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik. It seems like more of the same to the average Skoldier, but this move is truly a game changer.
As a refresher, let’s take a look at Minnesota’s current special teams unit:
Austin Cutting, Longsnapper
Dan Bailey, Kicker
Kaare Vedvik, Kicker/Punter
Matt Wile, Punter
By bringing in Vedvik, the Vikings can, and more than likely will enter the season with two kickers. That’s almost unheard of in the NFL, but the Vikings might just need a plan this crazy to crack the code. Heck, they already drafted a long snapper, why not try this? The move to acquire Vedvik more than likely means punter Matt Wile is on his way out. Vedvik looked great punting on Sunday, and Wile is limited with an injured hand. I’ve always liked Matt, as he’s drama-free and seems like a good locker-room guy, but it’s not looking good for him if you ask me.
If last weekend’s preseason game is any indication, fans can expect veteran Dan Bailey to handle field goals and extra points while Vedvik takes care of punts and kickoffs. However, coach Mike Zimmer did let Vedvik kick an extra point. It was just a sample size, but his first performance in purple confirms he’s a jack of all trades.
Some fans want Vedvik to be the kicker AND punter right from the get go. It would certainly be intriguing, but probably too risky in the event of an injury. That said, this option isn’t off the table yet. Let’s assume the Vikings enter the season with Bailey as their primary kicker, and Vedvik as the punter and kickoff man. If Bailey continues to struggle as he has during training camp, Spielman may be inclined to go all in on Vedvik, releasing Bailey to free up a roster spot.
We can’t predict the future, but it’s going to be another interesting year for the Vikings kicking corps. At the expense of a draft pick, Spielman bought the equivalent of two players, and one more chance at solving the curse.