For one reason or another, presumably by reputation, the NFL loves former Baltimore Ravens players and pretty consistently seems to be willing to pay top-dollar for them. from Za’Darius Smith to Ryan Jensen, Pernell McPhee and on, teams have always trusted that the players Baltimore is allowed to slip away are worth paying for.
One can’t help but wonder if that factored into the Minnesota Vikings’ decision to give the Ravens a fifth-round draft pick in exchange for kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik, who is in his second offseason and has never played in a meaningful game before. He had a solid preseason last year and two good games this year before Baltimore got a bite with the Vikings.
Who are now having buyer’s remorse after Vedvik missed a pair of field goals. At the moment, Minnesota has Dan Bailey at kicker, who had one of the great starts to his career of any kicker in NFL history, and Matt Wile at punter. Wile was in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp last year but the team chose to keep Jordan Berry.
The Viking’s special teams coordinator called Vedvik’s performance “disappointing and unacceptable”, adding that “he knows that. Hopefully this weekend, we’ll get more opportunities”.
Even though Vedvik did play well with the Ravens—obviously, which is why they were able to deal him—it was obvious that there would be no roster spot available for him, as they have Pro Bowlers at both kicker and punter. Justin Tucker is quite arguably the greatest kicker in NFL history, certainly the greatest today, while Matt Koch is a very solid and consistent punter. John Harbaugh’s special teams background shows in his priority to these units.
Minnesota’s situation is interesting, because Bailey has had a great history, but has struggled in the past two years. Do they trust that he can be as great as he once was, or at least more stable than a kicker who has never played in an NFL game? And Wile ranked ninth in the league in net punting yardage last year.
But they invested a fifth-round pick in Vedvik, at the same time. Could they cut him after just two preseason games?
“Since we brought Vedvik in, Wile has been punting good and Bailey has been kicking good, and then Vedvik goes out there and misses field goals”, head coach Mike Zimmer said. “I don’t know. I’m at a loss on that”.
While he subsequently expressed patience, given Vedvik’s circumstances, suddenly on a new team and working with a new long snapper and holder and everything else involved (he did punt reasonably well), he also had a clear standard.
“I want to see it go through the yellow posts”.