Over the past few weeks, Zone Coverage has broken down the Minnesota Vikings post-draft roster by position group and taken a stab at which players will make the team.
Today’s focus: Specialists
For the second straight year, the Vikings have an offseason kicker competition. Will a rookie fifth-round pick surpass the veteran Kai Forbath?
Departures: Jeff Overbaugh
Additions: Daniel Carlson
Returning: Kevin McDermott, Ryan Quigley, Kai Forbath
THE KICKERS: Kai Forbath, Daniel Carlson
From the second the Vikings selected Carlson in the fifth round of April’s draft, it was assumed that Forbath’s tenure in Minnesota would be short-lived. That opinion hasn’t changed in the two months since, as Carlson outkicked Forbath at OTAs and appears to have superior leg strength to the 30-year-old.
Minnesota must surely be breathing a sigh of relief that Carlson has performed so well. Not only does it validate a somewhat controversial selection, but it likely prevents them from having to consider cutting ties with a mid-round pick. Last season, the kicking competition between Forbath and Marshall Koehn lasted all the way through the preseason, but it seems unlikely this one goes the distance.
THE PUNTER: Ryan Quigley
The Vikings’ conservative approach to punting did not change when they made the switch from Jeff Locke to Quigley, but it was still a successful first season in Minnesota for the veteran, who was thought to be on the roster bubble in the preseason as he competed against Taylor Symmank.
Quigley had the league’s lowest average punt distance with the sixth-lowest net distance, but some of that can be attributed to punting into shorter fields. The journeyman tied for the league-lead with zero touchbacks in the regular season while tying for 10th in punts inside the 20 (29). He also led the NFL in fair catches by a wide margin (33), indicating good hangtime and equally strong gunner coverage.
The fact that the Vikings didn’t bring in competition for Quigley seemingly indicates they were pleased with his performance.
THE SNAPPER: Kevin McDermott
Now recovered from a separated shoulder that took him out of last year’s playoffs, McDermott enters his fourth year as the Vikings’ long snapper. He is in the second year of a four-year extension and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere in the near future.
Making the roster: Daniel Carlson, Ryan Quigley, Kevin McDermott
Released: Kai Forbath