You’ll have to excuse Marwan Maalouf. He’s new in town and doesn’t believe all Vikings kickers are cursed.
Unlike the rest of us, Maalouf did not go “uh-oh, here we go again” while watching Dan Bailey miss three of seven field goal attempts during Friday’s practice.
“It was Day 1 [of training camp],” the team’s new special teams coordinator said. “It takes a little time for those guys to get their rhythm back. When they finished OTAs, they were doing really well.”
Adding angst to what already was an anxious situation is a long-snapper competition between veteran Kevin McDermott and rookie seventh-round draft pick Austin Cutting.
“With two long-snappers we got to get used to a couple different things,” Maalouf said. “It wasn’t all on Dan. We got to clean up the operation. It’s just so early. Ask me again in a week.”
Good, bad or ugly, there’s always going to be another round of kicker questions in these parts.
Day 2 was all clear on the kicker front. The Vikings didn’t work on field goals.
‘Two NFL snappers’
Maalouf insists the Vikings have two NFL-caliber long-snappers. He says Cutting “is going to have to work for it” to unseat McDermott. He says McDermott has “risen to the competition.”
So, if both are that NFL-caliber good, what’s the difference? Aren’t all good snaps the same? After all, the entire operation from snap to kick ideally takes no longer than 1.3 seconds, according to McDermott.
Think again, says Maalouf.
“No two pitchers pitch the same,” he said. “It’s almost the same thing. That ball can come out different ways. Slight angles mean a ton. You’d be surprised. There are a lot of differences. They’re just very small details. Tempo is huge.”
Thielen: Wise old owl
At 28 and barreling toward his 29th birthday on Aug. 22, receiver Adam Thielen is the oldest receiver on the team by two years.
Though he’s still young, he also senses that now is the time to pay it forward with the whippersnappers, out of respect for all those older former teammates who helped along the way during his rags-to-riches career.
“I think it comes from, No. 1, just showing them how we work [on the field],” Thielen said. “Then in the film room just talking to them about why we did something. It’s hard to be like, ‘Hey, do this’ without being able to tell them why you do it.
“Just trying to share knowledge and help those guys out because I’ve had a lot of guys in front of me over the years who have shed a lot of light on me and helped me with my game. A lot of things I use today are a mixture of a lot of guys that I’ve seen use those techniques and those things to get them open.”
In the corner market
Coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings are still sorting though their options for cornerback depth after working out veterans Orlando Scandrick and Mo Claiborne in recent days.
“It’s a process of figuring out if it’s a fit, or the right situation,” he said. “Just keep turning over rocks to see if we can find something that fits. We obviously are up against the [salary] cap, too.”
Philadelphia signed Scandrick on Saturday.
Time to pay up, Holton
Xavier Rhodes said the Vikings talked as a team about the two four-game suspensions the NFL leveled against fellow cornerback Holton Hill for taking banned substances.
“He knows the mistakes he made,” Rhodes said. “He understands what he did wrong, and now he knows he has to face the consequences.”