EAGAN Tim Schaller Jersey , Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have completed their plan to turn over their kicking duties to rookie Daniel Carlson, releasing veteran Kai Forbath with two weeks remaining in the preseason.
For all the training camp drills and exhibition game extra points the Vikings can give Carlson, there’s no way for him to experience the pressure and scrutiny that comes with the job on a championship-chasing team.
For all the calm the Southeastern Conference’s all-time scoring leader has exhibited around Vikings headquarters since they drafted him out of Auburn in the fifth round in April, there’s no way for them to know how he’ll handle the enormous responsibility until September.
“We’ll just see how it goes,” coach Mike Zimmer said on Monday after Forbath was let go. “You make your decision, and you live with it.”
Forbath took both field goal tries in Minnesota’s exhibition game on Saturday against Jacksonville and missed one when it hit the right upright. In 25 games with the Vikings, including the playoffs, Forbath made 48 of 56 extra points and 50 of 57 field goals.
He stabilized the position when a struggling Blair Walsh left it in disarray midway through the 2016 season and made his share of clutch kicks, but the 30-year-old never quite found enough of a groove to gain the team’s full trust.
The Vikings were looking for more depth on their kickoffs as well as consistency on field goals and extra points, and the 6-foot-5 Carlson has the stronger leg.
“At the end of the day it’s who can make the important kicks and who the team has confidence in, so I feel really good that the coaches and the staff have entrusted me with that confidence Oscar Klefbom Jersey ,” Carlson said.
He was quick to credit Forbath for his class in handling a dynamic that could’ve been awkward from the day the Vikings took Carlson with the 167th overall selection. Forbath has kicked for three NFL teams, mostly with Washington.
“Kai’s given me a run for my money, and he’s had a lot of success here and elsewhere. So it was a great competition,” Carlson said, adding: “I wish him nothing but the best, but I’m excited to be staying around here and get ready for the real work.”
The Vikings invested a sixth-round draft pick in Walsh in 2012 and watched him become an All-Pro as a rookie. He never repeated that performance, though, and four seasons later the team had no choice but to start fresh. Now they’re counting on not having to make any more changes with the role for many years.
“Every kick’s a pressure kick, and you know your job is going to be on the line and it’s probably going to be decided on a few different kicks,” Carlson said, adding: “You want to be on a winning team. … I’m just going to take that and run with it.”
The game on Saturday was particularly painful for the bottom of the roster Womens Jason Demers Jersey , with five players injured and needing assistance off the field. Defensive end Ade Aruna (right knee) was placed on injured reserve on Monday. Offensive lineman Cedrick Lang (right leg) and fullback Johnny Stanton (left leg) were waived with an injured designation, meaning they must clear waivers before being placed on injured reserve. Tight end Josiah Price (right knee) was also waived-injured, after getting hurt in practice last week. The Vikings signed two players to fill open spots, including fullback Kobe McCrary, who played in college at Minnesota.
During the Texans' nine-week offseason program, Deshaun Watson had a set of goals in mind.
The second-year quarterback out of Clemson, who is recovering from tearing his right ACL during practice last season, said he met and surpassed them by the end of the team's final veteran minicamp on Wednesday.
"Never satisfied, I always feel like I can do better," Watson said. "We'll get better. Those nine weeks I've gained a lot on and off the field. Mentally, physically Ryan Miller Jersey , emotionally, spiritually and I've been able to take my game and me as a person to another level."
Going through this rehab process is not new to Watson.
In his freshman season at Clemson, Watson tore the ACL in his left knee during practice as well. Having been through it before and knowing the work he put in, Watson wasn't surprised about his progress.
"I kind of knew where I was going to be," Watson said. "I put the time, effort and work in every morning. Just been grinding, so I'm not surprised at all. I'm right where I need to be and where I want to be."
Despite having to recover from the injury, Watson feels as if he is ahead of where he was this time last year.
In 2017, Watson was selected No. 12 overall by the Texans and participated in the offseason program. During his second offseason in the NFL, his experience from the past year is paying dividends now.
"I'm light years away from where I was last year coming in," Watson said. "Just a rookie knowing what I knew from college and what I learned in the pre-draft and what I learned in the QB room. Everything was going so fast Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey , a lot of information at that time.
"Having a full season and offseason with Coach (Bill) O'Brien and Coach Sean Ryan I've been able to advance my game and take my game to a whole other level. It's been great."
O'Brien has seen first-hand the improvement and development of the young quarterback.
"With the work ethic he has and the mindset that he has you're going to get better at knowledge of the offense, knowledge of the defense and your own mechanics," O'Brien said.
"There's just been a lot of improvement in a lot of different areas. He'll keep it going over the next five weeks and he'll be ready for training camp."
Heading into this year's training camp for the Texans, unlike in some past seasons, there is no doubt who will be taking the reps with the main offensive unit.
With everything being settled on that side, O'Brien said he knows how the reps will be divided.
The biggest benefit is the team knows exactly what they will start working on once training camp begins.
"This year we know who our starting quarterback is," O'Brien said. "Obviously we're very comfortable with that. That's a good thing for our football team. All that means is that we're settled there.
"It doesn't mean anything relative to last year. It just means hey look we've got to come in ready to go in training camp and we've got to continue where we left off from when he was the quarterback."
The Texans will finish their offseason program with meetings on Thursday before breaking for five weeks. Houston will open training camp at The Greenbrier in West Virginia at the end of July.
The Texans open their preseason at Kansas City on Aug. 9.
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