The Vikings’ kicking and punting competitions began in earnest as Kaare Vedvik did everything but attempt a field goal during Sunday night’s 25-19 preseason win against the Seahawks.
Vedvik, acquired last week via trade with the Ravens, handled kickoffs, booted away three punts and made one extra point. Kicker Dan Bailey led off with a 24-yard field goal in the first quarter and added an extra point before halftime.
“We had a good plan as far as getting everybody reps,” Bailey said. “It ended up working out pretty good. I was just happy to get a couple kicks there in the first half. I was happy they were successful.”
Head coach Mike Zimmer had a positive, but brief, review of Vedvik, who averaged 46.7 yards on three punts. However, Vedvik’s last two punts lacked hang time and led to returns of 17 and 19 yards. Punter Matt Wile sent his only punt 35 yards to the Seahawks 11-yard line.
Vedvik, competing for either Bailey’s or Wile’s job, made an extra point in the third quarter.
“He’s definitely a talented guy, strong leg,” Bailey said. “It’s been a positive experience for me. I’ve always said, whether somebody is here or not, you’re always competing.”
Receiver Chad Beebe held for extra points and field goals.
“He’s confident catching the ball back there,” Bailey said. “We’re just trying to figure out the operation and get that cleaned up. Who knows moving forward, but it’s been good so far.”
Cook, Joseph and O’Neill sidelined
Nine Vikings were officially not expected to play against the Seahawks, led by nose tackle Linval Joseph (shoulder) and right tackle Brian O’Neill (arm). Tackle Aviante Collins (leg), running back Ameer Abdullah, defensive tackle Shamar Stephen and defensive end Ade Aruna also did not play.
Running back Dalvin Cook (rest) watched from the sideline for a second straight exhibition, ceding his starting job to rookie running back Alexander Mattison.
Receiver race heats up
The race for the final 53-man roster spots has heated up among Vikings receivers. Jeff Badet, the second-year pro out of Oklahoma, put on a showing with three kickoff returns averaging 27.3 yards. He also drew a holding penalty on punt coverage. Brandon Zylstra, the Spicer, Minn., native, caught all five passes thrown to him for 37 yards and a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Zylstra, Badet, Olabisi Johnson, Jordan Taylor and Laquon Treadwell are among receivers competing for two — maybe three — roster spots.
“As far as the playbook, I feel I got that down,” Zylstra said. “One of the things I’m struggling with right now is reading defenses and reacting to that fast enough. That’s something I need to get down these next couple weeks.”
Seahawks quarterback Paxton Lynch was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter by a helmet-to-helmet hit from Vikings cornerback Holton Hill, who was ejected because of the infraction. Hill clearly lowered his helmet into Lynch, who was sliding, and initiated head-to-head contact.
“We don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Zimmer said. “I told Pete [Carroll] after the game I was sorry about his quarterback. Number two [Hill] can’t drop his head. But saying that, when the quarterback is running an option, he ought to be fair game, other than lowering your head and hitting him.”
Seahawks guard Demetrius Knox was carted off the field with an apparent leg injury later in the same drive.