The Vikings have added a part-time kicking coach.
Nate Kaeding, a nine-year NFL veteran, will help kicker Dan Bailey and the Vikings field-goal operation during offseason workouts. During Wednesday’s Organized Team Activity practice, Kaeding worked closely with punter Matt Wile on holds and oversaw a team field-goal session in which Bailey made all six attempts.
Kaeding, 37, was a two-time Pro Bowler and was first team All-Pro in 2009 when he made 32 of 35 field-goal attempts for San Diego and had an NFL-leading 146 points. He is the ninth-most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history at 86.19%.
Kaeding also should understand the Vikings’ history with postseason woes. He made only eight of 15 field-goal attempts in eight career playoff games, missing three kicks in the Chargers’ 2009 AFC Divisional round loss to the Jets.
“It’s always good having somebody else who was in your shoes, in that situation, even just to bounce ideas off,” Bailey said after practice. “We’re still learning each other and working through that. It’s been positive.”
A referral from former Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway, Kaeding’s former Iowa teammate, sparked the connection in a phone call to head coach Mike Zimmer.
Kaeding then sold the Vikings on his commitment to drive a few hours a couple of times per week from his home in Iowa City and work specifically with Bailey and a field-goal operation that ranked last (68.6%) in the NFL in 2018.
“You got to have somebody that really wants to do it, too,” Zimmer said. “Nate had other jobs going on. To be able to come in here and do this a couple of days a week and get away from his other job and still be specific with it — you have to want to do this, and he was very adamant about it.”
For now, Kaeding’s job is expected to extend through training camp with a possible offer for a full-time role this season, according to Zimmer.
“We’re going to see how everything goes,” Zimmer said.
Kaeding will work in collaboration with special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf, entering his first season with the Vikings. Maalouf said he knew Kaeding through NFL competition and mutual friends at the University of Iowa.
“He’s done a real good job of so far just communicating with the players, making sure everybody is on the same page,” Maalouf said.
“That’s really important that we’re all talking the same language. He’s somebody I can send with the specialists, and I can concentrate on other parts.”
Bailey signed a one-year, $1 million deal to stay with the Vikings this offseason. He said a full offseason of practices with the same teammates can lead to a rebound after missing a career-high seven field-goal attempts last season.
“Three guys that hadn’t worked together before,” Bailey said of last season. “I do feel like probably the last four to five weeks of the season, we got into a groove there. Carrying that over and really getting solid work in going back to the fundamentals of it all is important. Just dialing in that timing, that rhythm and getting comfortable with each other.”