The Vikings don’t have to cut a kicker or a punter before the final preseason game on Aug. 31, so why would they?
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said the Vikings’ competitions at both kicker and punter are too close to call before seeing all four specialists compete in two more exhibitions.
“Because the competition is so close, I think what we’re going to do is hopefully go through four preseason games,” Priefer said, “and then have that 11-day period prior to the New Orleans game to finalize that.”
The Vikings went 2-4 in one-score games last year and are still deciding whether incumbent veteran Kai Forbath or newcomer Marshall Koehn will be the team’s kicker this season. Both have been perfect in two preseason games. Forbath has made field goals from 36 and 51 yards away. Koehn drilled his only field goal attempt from 29 yards.
Koehn, undrafted out of Iowa last year, has the stronger leg evident with three touchbacks on four kickoffs this preseason.
“End of the half, [Koehn] can kick somewhere in the 60[-yard range],” Priefer said. “But I would try Kai there as well. I think Marshall does have the stronger leg, but Kai’s got a stronger leg than people give him credit for.”
The Vikings have a similar situation at punter, where veteran Ryan Quigley has been more consistent with a lesser leg than the inexperienced Taylor Symmank. One thing Quigley has going for him is the Vikings’ trust as a holder for field goals and extra points. Symmank has not been a holder yet this preseason.
The Vikings have also worked backup quarterback Case Keenum and receiver Adam Thielen as holders during practice. They’ll have more than a week between the Sept. 2 roster cut deadline and the Sept. 11 regular season opener to iron out kinks in whichever specialist operation is chosen.
“The good thing is, [the specialists] have been working together since May,” Priefer said. “I know we’ve had different competitions and they don’t have the same amount of reps as they would during a regular season week, but we’ll get there. We’ll have plenty of time to get that work in.”