Preseason Game 1: Five Minnesota Vikings Who Helped Themselves

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Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings punter Jeff Locke (18) punts during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jeff Locke

Jeff Locke doesn’t have anything to worry about from a job security point of view (Mike Priefer doesn’t believe in punter competitions even when he has two punters) but I still think it was a big deal for him to play well last night. There were questions about Locke after a lackluster rookie season, questions about his ability to add to a punting repertoire that mostly consisted of straight, booming kicks down the middle of the field.

Locke answered those questions Friday night by showing off a more varied array of punts, employing Aussie-style technique to kill balls inside the 20 on a couple of occasions. Locke almost pulled off a brilliant play to pin the Raiders deep, except that the guy who downed the ball, Jabari Price, had already touched the goal line with his foot and failed to re-establish himself.

If Locke can continue perfecting these punts, the questions about him will evaporate. He has the talent to be one of the league’s best punters.