In the aftermath of the 2016 NFL Draft and the undrafted free agent signing binge that followed, a number of Minnesota Vikings fans were unhappy that the team apparently did not see the need to bring in competition for incumbent punter Jeff Locke.
Yes, we've progressed to the point with this Vikings roster where the punter is one of the few spots of contention.
However, with the mini-camp going on at Winter Park this weekend, the team does have two punters in town, and apparently one of them will be signed by the team before the end of the weekend.
On one side, we have West Virgina punter Nick O'Toole, who can best be described as. . .quirky? Yeah, let's go with quirky. O'Toole ranked 13th in the country in punting this past season for the Mountaineers (45.4 yard average), and was one of the few punters to receive an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine.
He also has a serious love of facial hair, though he's clean-shaven at this weekend's mini-camp. (He's already said the beard is coming back if he makes the team.)
On the other side, there's Texas Tech punter Taylor Symmank. Symmank ranked ninth in college football in punting last season (46.0 yard average), but missed several games with a hip injury. He was on the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award.
O'Toole stated in an interview with Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he and Symmank were competing for a contract this weekend.
"Talking with [coach Mike Zimmer], he said Jeff has one more year on his contract and we'll see what happens," O'Toole said. "He said for me and Taylor to come in and compete and whoever is the better punter this weekend will be signed and that guy is going to compete with Jeff. And that guy could win the job or he could just have his name out there for other teams to see."
If the Vikings aren't particularly impressed with either Symmank or O'Toole, they could turn their attention back to former North Dakota State punter Ben LeCompte. LeCompte had a private workout with the Vikings this past week and is attending the Chicago Bears' mini-camp this weekend.
So fear not, Vikings' fans. . .the punter situation in Minnesota is, in fact, being addressed.