Vikings Draft a Record-Breaker

will reichard
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The Minnesota Vikings’ draft efforts brought Michigan’s national championship quarterback, J.J. McCarthy, to the franchise. He is expected to take over from Sam Darnold at some point, while first-round pass-rusher Dallas Turner should be a contributor in Week 1. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn’t have to trade up more than one spot to secure McCarthy, allowing him to land Turner.

Vikings Draft a Record-Breaker

vikings draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On day two of the draft, he didn’t have any selections, as the second-rounder was used to acquire the pick that led to Turner, and the third-rounder was part of the T.J. Hockenson deal. Draft Saturday arrived, and Adofo-Mensah added former Oregon cornerback Khyree Jackson, who might carve out a role, and offensive tackle Walter Rouse, a potential backup swing tackle.

Then the Vikings were on the clock with the 203rd overall pick, and the general manager selected another guy from Alabama when he acquired kicker Will Reichard.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kickers are fascinating players because they are essential and overlooked but often criticized. Having a subpar kicker is a massive problem because it can lose games. On the flip side, employing Justin Tucker, who is probably a future Hall of Famer, drastically increases the range of game-winning drives, and he rarely misses easy ones.

Reichard is not just a kicker but the all-time record holder for points scored in FBS football. On his way to that mark, he passed former Vikings draft pick Daniel Carlson in most points in SEC history. Carlson, a 2018 fifth-round pick, was out of Minnesota after two games and afterward had a phenomenal career in Las Vegas.

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Reichard made 295 of 297 extra points in five seasons at Alabama. His last missed extra point came in 2021. He hit 84 of 100 field goals, with a career-long of 52 yards and an outstanding 10 of 13 kicks from 50 or more yards.

Draft scout Lance Zierlein wrote at NFL.com:

Highly experienced in high-level matchups inside the SEC and in the College Football Playoff. Reichard kicks with consistent lift. He’s as close to automatic as you will find under 40 yards and can make 50-plus yard kicks with a high success rate but has average leg strength by the standards of today’s NFL. Reichard needs to prove he can plant a higher percentage of kickoffs as touchbacks, but his accuracy and talent should give him a strong chance at being drafted in the middle rounds and becoming a starting NFL kicker.

Lance Zierlein

During free agency, the Vikings signed former XFL-kicker John Parker Romo to replace Greg Joseph, the departed veteran who wasn’t re-signed after three seasons.

After a long college career at Central Arkansas, Tulsa, and Virginia Tech, Romo went undrafted, but he has had stints with the Saints, Lions, and Bears since. His only meaningful on-field experience came in the XFL when he hit 17 of 19 field goals in 2023 and a (since broken) 57-yard record for the longest field goal in the developmental league.

New Vikings Kicker
Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell forecasted a competition a few weeks ago:

It’s a pretty easy evaluation when you put one or two guys competing against each other, possibly more, where you can put them in tougher situations, high-pressure situations, even in front of a training camp crowd or their teammates in the spring with some circumstances on making a kick or missing a kick and you can really start to see how guys respond.

Kevin O’Connell

It will be one of the most fascinating storylines in training camp if the Vikings can finally develop a kicker to overcome Minnesota’s curse.


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 Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt

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