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Matt Daniels signals a big change in Vikings culture

You’ll probably be surprised

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

There are going to be plenty of changes for the Minnesota Vikings this coming season as the Rick Spielman/Mike Zimmer era gives way to the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah/Kevin O’Connell era, but one of them might have been signaled today by an unlikely source.

New special teams coordinator Mike Daniels has signaled that there is going to be a full-on competition for the kicker and punter spots in 2022, and that undrafted rookies could be in the middle of both.

At his press conference on Tuesday, Daniels said that he “frickin’ loves rookies, man.” That’s quite a shift from what we saw towards the tail end of the Zimmer era, where the team was seemingly hesitant to put rookies on the field or to give them too much responsibility in general.

Daniels also said that there would be a “full-on competition” at both kicker and punter this season, so Jordan Berry and Greg Joseph aren’t automatically locked into their jobs by any stretch.

Berry will be challenged by Ryan Wright, who the Vikings signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane in the post-draft signing frenzy. Joseph will get his competition from Greg Brkic, who was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2021 before being signed by the Vikings in the days following the draft.

I’m not completely sure yet if Daniels’ enthusiasm for getting rookies involved is going to carry over to the rest of the Vikings’ coaching staff and roster, but even if it doesn’t, this still signals a pretty significant change for the purple from what we’ve seen over the past couple of seasons.