Vikings kicking battle continues to lean towards rookie Daniel Carlson

posted by Aj Mansour -

Photo: Getty Images

If ever there could be a position battle during a teams Organized Team Activities (OTAs) sessions, it's likely going to come from the special teams room.

Sure, there are battles elsewhere on the field but none of them figure to have a deadline looming anytime before the date of first cuts come August and the teams Training Camp sessions.

That's not the case for the special teams players, especially under Special Teams coordinator Mike Priefer. 

In the recent history of the Minnesota Vikings we've seen this sort of thing happen a few times where a young player was drafted, that's a key here, they were drafted and the incumbent veteran player was soon to be let go. 

In 2012 we saw it happen with kicker Ryan Longwell. After rookie Blair Walsh was drafted in 6th round of the 2012 draft, Longwell only lasted a few weeks and was released by the team in the beginning of May. 

Next up, punter Chris Kluwe. The following season the Vikings drafted a punter, Jeff Locke, in the 5th round of the 2013 draft. Like Longwell, Kluwe lasted only a few weeks before being released by the team on May 6th, 2013.

There's a few reasons that the team does this, some to serve the player allowing them to latch on elsewhere and some serve the team to bring in depth at a different position and settle the battle early for the Special Teams.

So, looking at kicker Daniel Carlson getting drafted in the 5th round this season, it might be safe to assume that the writing is on the wall for veteran Kai Forbath. 

As for the performance on the field this offseason, that's not helping Forbath's case much either. The kickers are alternating identical kicks in OTAs and at last week's availability availability Forbath converted 3-of-5 while Carlson was a perfect 5-of-5. That trend continued today at the final OTA availability where Carlson again went a perfect 4-for-4 while Forbath finished 3-for-4 missing a chunker from 50 yards short and to the right.

From here, the Vikings prepare to open Mini Camp next week at TCO Performance Center in which there will be three days of practice and three days of media availability. It may very well be Kai Forbath's last stand as the team will then take a month off before Training Camp opens. That would be the period of time where the team might make a move and bring another body in for Training Camp.

It's something to keep your eyes on going forward. The team made an investment on Carlson in the 5th round this year and they don't figure to carry two kickers through the regular season.

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