A New Draft Pick Is the Vikings’ Most Promising Player

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When the Minnesota Vikings announced their 2024 NFL Draft plans, everyone knew they would include a quarterback, likely in the first round. What was less certain was that a kicker would be part of the equation, but Will Reichard came into view.

A New Draft Pick Is the Vikings’ Most Promising Player

In 2018, former general manager Rick Spielman used a fifth-round pick on Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson. Taken 167th overall, he went well ahead of where current general manager Kwesi Adofo Mensah took Alabama’s Will Reichard, but once again, Minnesota has a chance to reset the position.

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Few things have been less certain for the Minnesota Vikings franchise than the kicker position. Gary Anderson still strikes a nerve with fans for his 1998 miss, and Blair Walsh created new demons of his own. Employing former Green Bay Packers legend Ryan Longwell was a weird experience, but then Mike Zimmer jettisoned one of the best kickers in the NFL after growing tired of rookie Daniel Carlson. With a clean slate heading into 2024, Kevin O’Connell can get it right.

This offseason, the Vikings signed the XFL’s John Parker Romo in large part due to his big leg. He was going to come in and replace Greg Joseph, a kicker who nailed a walkoff from an incredible distance during his tenure in purple. Then, one day in April, he all but lost his job.

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Of course, there is nothing guaranteed about late-round picks, but often, franchises don’t use them on a role player unless they are going to make the roster. One of history’s most decorated college football players, Will Reichard joins the Vikings after kicking five seasons for Alabama. He missed just two extra points in nearly 300 attempts as an amateur and brings an 84% success rate on exactly 100 field goal attempts in college.

Working with Nick Saban, Reichard is more than aware of what excellence looks like. He has been demanded that for the duration of his collegiate career, and it will be demanded of him by Minnesota as well. While Reichard isn’t known for having the most substantial leg, he is an accurate kicker with a background of making massive kicks. Minnesota needs someone to come through when called upon, and the belief is that Reichard can be that guy.

Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban yells at Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) after he drew a pass interference call during the College Football Playoff National Championship against Georgia on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Georgia won 33-18. News Joshua L Jones

This is the first real reset at the kicker position for Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell. Special teams coach Matt Daniels will be responsible for getting the best out of his new toy, but there may be no player with an opportunity to have a more immediate and long-term impact than Reichard can.

The job is in front of him. Now, what can he do with it?

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.