Early Reports Suggest One Vikings Rookie Is the Real Deal

roster battle
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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first two rookie classes have been evaluated from every possible angle, as folks were underwhelmed by the early results of his first group – for a good reason. Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth have been borderline disasters and besides Ed Ingram and, to some extent, Ty Chandler, the 2022 rookies aren’t looking very bright.

Early Reports Suggest One Vikings Rookie Is the Real Deal

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The good news is that redeeming himself is pretty easy. A few good finds and the first two picks will be forgotten. A good start was made in 2023 by adding two potential superstars, first-rounder Jordan Addison, and undrafted rookie Ivan Pace.

His latest acquisitions include passer J.J. McCarthy and edge defender Dallas Turner, who certainly highlight the draft class. McCarthy has already drawn praise from his teammates for his leadership, and his arm strength has been labeled positive. Turner, meanwhile, caught the eyes of star left tackle Christian Darrisaw for hitting another lineman with a nasty spin move.

On day three, after skipping rounds two and three on day two, Adofo-Mensah selected cornerback Khyree Jackson, who could be a surprise candidate to make some noise. Later that day, Will Reichard, Alabama’s kicker, was reunited with defender Turner.

Early Reports Suggest One Vikings' Rookie Is the Real Deal
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Kickers remain a spicy topic in Minnesota, and the well-known blunders from the specialists will not be listed here. However, while it is still early, Reichard’s outlook is quite positive after a few weeks of practice.

He has been in shorts, and there hasn’t been any in-game pressure scenario, but the 23-year-old hit bombs all over the field in his spring practices. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote about the impressive rookie:

During the team’s final OTA, which was moved indoors because of rain, Reichard nearly hit a balcony that is perched on the wall behind — and above — the goal posts while moving through a progression of 40+ yard attempts. Later, in a full drill with a defense, he drilled a 60-yarder that landed in a net that sits 10 feet behind the goal post and 10 feet off the ground.

Kevin Seifert

Reichard’s outstanding consistency was the primary reason he broke the NCAA’s all-time record for points scored. His accuracy was also showcased as a positive aspect in scouting reports, but pundits had some concerns about his leg strength. Lance Zierlein wrote in his scouting report: “Has average leg strength by the standards of today’s NFL.”

His longest-made kick in college was 52 yards.

draft pick
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That theory, however, might have already been debunked by Seifert’s words. Interestingly, Matthew Coller, host of the Purple Insider podcast, shared a similar story:

Holy hell, in a good way. He just kicks the heck outta the ball. He was kicking 55-yarders that were going at the top of the goalposts. His 60-yard kick cleared everything and still landed in the net that was like five, seven yards behind it.

Matthew Coller

In five seasons at Alabama, Reichard made 84 of 100 field goals and 295 of 297 extra points, scoring a record 547 points.

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.

Earlier in the offseason, the Vikings hired John Parker Romo, the 2023 XFL standout. So far, reports suggest he shares Reichard’s kicking power but not his accuracy. Alec Lewis from The Athletic wrote: “Huge leg but not nearly as consistent as Reichard.”

The duo will compete in training camp for the vacant kicking job, but it would be shocking if the Vikings didn’t hand that gig to their draft pick. Reichard’s first in-game experience will arrive in August when the preseason begins.

Editor’s Note: Information from Sports Reference and helped with this article.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and prefers Classic rock over other genres. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt