New Vikings Kicker to Wear Strange Number

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

New Minnesota Vikings kicker John Parker Romo hopes to pull off the upset this summer, and he’ll do so lookin’ like a nose tackle.

New Vikings Kicker to Wear Strange Number

That’s a reference to his jersey number, of course, as Romo opted for No. 96 this week as the Vikings embark on mandatory minicamp in 33 days.

vikings kicker
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports.

Romo tweeted Wednesday, “Back in 96 just like my Virginia Hokies days! Anyone know if I’m the first kicker to wear a big number in the big league? S/o Eli Corbett for the quick edit.”

Here’s the tweet in the flesh:

Romo suddenly faces an uphill climb to win Minnesota’s kicking opening after general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah used a 6th-Round pick on Alabama’s Will Reichard last Saturday. Pundits considered Reichard the top kicker in this year’s rookie class, so Romo must propel his underdog story a little further.

New Vikings Kicker
Detroit Lions placekicker John Parker Romo (24) watches practice during OTAs at Detroit Lions headquarters in Allen Park on Thursday, June 1, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings welcomed Romo to the depth chart in March, and at the time, he felt like the sole solution. However, the Reichard addition totally changed everything on that front. In fact, it might be weird if Reichard doesn’t win the job outright, especially after a wonderfully successful career at Alabama and his status as the first kicker off the board in the draft.

Romo’s jersey number choice is unusual, as the last Vikings players to toss on the No. 96 include defensive tackles Ross Blacklock, Armon Watts, and Tom Johnson. Before those men, defensive end Brian Robison wore the number.

Detroit Lions kicker Parker Romo (24) attempts a field goal against the New York Giants during the second half of a preseason game at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023. © Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press / USA TODAY NETWORK.

This is Romo’s football resume to date, though he’s never kicked in a regular season NFL game:

  • New Orleans Saints (2022)
  • San Antonio Brahmas (2023), XFL
  • Detroit Lions (2023)
  • Chicago Bears (2023)
  • Minnesota Vikings (2024)

Romo attended three colleges — Central Kansas (2016), Tulsa (2018), and Virginia Tech (2019-2021) — and was a teammate of Christian Darrisaw at Virginia Tech. He was awarded All-XFL Team honors with the Brahmas in 2023 and also finished as that league’s field goal leader.

He has a massive leg, posting videos to social media of himself connecting from 70+ yards out.

Such kicks in practice rarely translate exactly to NFL games, but at the very least, the new specialist should be able to hit comfortably from 50 yards and beyond. He might have to hit such kicks to supplant Reichard this summer.

Minnesota cut ties with Greg Joseph this offseason after three seasons of service, and Joseph promptly signed with the Green Bay Packers, where he’ll vie for the starting job against Anders Carlson and former Viking Jack Podlesny.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Romo will turn 27 in August.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by