Vikings looking to make special teams unit even more specialMankato, MN (WDAY TV) - The Vikings addressed several areas of need in April's draft, adding a wide receiver, cornerback and defensive tackle. They also added a punter and are hoping they capture some more special teams magic.
By: Eric Manlove, WDAY
Mankato, MN (WDAY TV) - The Vikings addressed several areas of need in April's draft, adding a wide receiver, cornerback and defensive tackle. They also added a punter and are hoping they capture some more special teams magic.
The Minnesota Vikings struck gold last year when they drafted All-Pro kicker Blair Walsh. He helped establish the special teams unit as one of the best in the league. The Vikings went back to the draft this year to select punter Jeff Locke to help the kicking game get even stronger.
Mike Priefer - Special Teams Coordinator: "He's got a strong leg, he has the ability to directional punt, he has great focus, and mental toughness."
Walsh was a huge surprise last year. Not only did he lead the team in scoring, but didn't miss a field goal over 50 yards, making 10 of 10 to set a new NFL record. Now, the Vikings are hoping they've hit on another special teamer by selecting Locke, who says he's ready for the challenge.
Jeff Locke - Rookie Punter: "I don't try and put added pressure on myself for that. I'm going to try and be the best that I can no matter what. I think if you get caught up in the numbers and the stats that you get away from the little things. I just try and get my technique right on every punt and let the numbers take care of themselves."
Blair Walsh - NFL All-Pro Kicker: "Absolutely I can help him with scenarios and situations he's going to face out here, the pressure situations he's going to face, what it's like to succeed and fail in your first year. I think he will do great this year."
Despite just one year of experience between the 23 year-olds, the Vikings feel the kicking game is ready to settle in as one of the best duo's in the NFL.
Mike Priefer: "They are mature professionals, intelligent, understand their craft, which is very important to me, and very hard workers. They are always trying to get better and they get along great. I'm really excited."
The average starting position for opponents in 2012 was just outside the 20 yard line. The Vikings expect that number to be even less this year. Locke averaged nearly 40 yards per punt in his debut last week, including 2 inside the 20.