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Vikings Kicker Competition Starts At Training Camp

May the kicker who consistently makes it through the upright win

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings kicker competition will officially start when veteran Kai Forbath reports this Saturday for training camp, but rookie Daniel Carlson will already have a few days of practice under his belt.

Carlson was the highest drafted kicker in Vikings history at 167th overall and the team has high hopes for him. His numbers at Auburn were good, 480 points and 92 field-goals made and in a private practice with special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, Carlson managed to impress him when he made all 15 of his field-goal attempts and with his powerful leg.

Carlson spoke with 1500 ESPN about his friendly competition with Forbath. “We have a great relationship. We work with each other in practice and we’ve got an opportunity just to kind of feed off of each other. But obviously it’s also a competition, so there’s that side of it, too, where we’re trying to push each other. It’s gone great so far and I’m looking forward to continuing it over the rest of camp.”

While Carlson is looking forward to “pushing” Forbath, it might be what Forbath needs to secure his spot. Forbath made 32 out of 38 field goals last season which is great, but his weak spot tended to be extra points which are now at the 15-yard-line. He only missed five extra-point kicks, but those points always come back to bite you. Carlson may be the cure for what Forbath lags in the extra-point kicks.

The one thing Forbath has going for him in his fight to secure his spot is that Carlson’s accuracy went down to 74% when he was blocked for three kicks. But Carlson isn’t worried about that, “You’ve got to not let the moment get too big. We practice these kicks millions and millions of times on the practice fields. It’s no different when there’s 11 guys rushing at you and 100,000 people watching, millions on TV. Whatever it is, it’s the same. So you’ve just got to knock it through the pipes every time.”

For Carlson’s sake, he should continue to block out that pressure, or he’ll be watching Forbath from the sidelines.