In their first actual game action since confusing the heck out of all of us fans about their kicking situation, the Minnesota Vikings had the opportunity to put Dan Bailey, Matt Wile, and the newly-acquired Kaare Vedvik to work against the Seattle Seahawks. So, how were the three kicking specialists employed and can we glean anything from that?
Well, if we can. . .it’s going to be bad news for the Vikings’ incumbent punter.
Let’s break down all of the Vikings’ kicks from Sunday night here.
- The Vikings attempted just one field goal on the evening, the 24-yarder by Bailey that opened the scoring. Chad Beebe served as the holder for the kick.
- The Vikings attempted two extra points. Bailey handled the one after Sean Mannion’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Zylstra just before halftime, and Vedvik took the attempt following Khari Blasingame’s 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Chad Beebe served as the holder for both of those attempts as well. The Vikings followed their third touchdown of the night with a successful two-point conversion.
- The Vikings kicked off five times. All of those kicks were handled by Vedvik.
- The Vikings punted four times. Three of those punts were handled by Vedvik, and Wile’s only snap of the contest was the final punt of the game with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.
Now, I’m not sure how much Wile’s lack of participation in this contest had to do with the injury that he suffered to his hand (one that required stitches) against New Orleans. He has, reportedly, done very little work at camp over the past week, and it’s really difficult to know whether that has anything to do with the injury, the Vedvik trade, or a combination of the two. Perhaps they just wanted to give Vedvik every opportunity as the punter in this one and they’ll give him more opportunities as the kicker in the All-Important Third Preseason Game™ next weekend.
If there is a positive on Wile’s side, it’s that Vedvik’s net average wasn’t spectacular or anything. He averaged 46.7 yards/punt, but didn’t get a great deal of hang time, resulting in some decent returns for the Seahawks. As a result, his net average was only 34.7 yards/punt, which is not very good.
There are still plenty of practices and opportunities for all three of the Vikings’ specialists to impress the coaches before the roster cutdown deadline on 31 August. As things stand right now, though, you could probably be forgiven for thinking that one of the three is clearly on the outside looking in.