Minnesota Vikings: Jeff Locke has TCF flag situation all figured out


Now we know why Jeff Locke struggled last year to the point where Pro Football Focus ranked him at the bottom among NFL punters.

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It was the damn flags.

According to Locke, the wind patterns at TCF Bank Stadium weren’t the only thing causing confusion for him and fellow Vikings specialist Blair Walsh.

Locke told Viking Update’s Tim Yotter that the ever-changing flags at TCF presented their own special challenge, but said he and Walsh think they’ve now cracked the flag code (via Viking Update):

"“[The wind chart] mainly is based off weather forecasts because the flags aren’t always the same height in that stadium. Sometimes you get half-mast flags, sometimes not all the flags are up in the stadium, depending on if the Gophers played there that weekend. They are a little different each time,” Locke said. “I kind of base it on what we see in the stadium based on that day’s weather forecast because it always says which way the wind is coming out of in the city, so we can look at the weather forecast, match it up with the pic that day and kind of see what we think is going to happen, but there’s only so much you can do down there.”"

Locke says he and Walsh were initially confused by the discrepancy between what the wind chart was telling them and what the flags were telling them, but they figured out which flags give false reads, and even watched the way debris blew across the field in order to gauge wind direction.

Armed with all this experience, Locke now believes he has a good read on how the winds work in TCF Bank Stadium.

In addition to charting the winds and cracking the flag code, Locke reportedly has also been working on a new punt that he thinks will allow him to spin the ball more, resulting in more controlled kicks even with the wind in his face.

And Locke is able to do all this work knowing that his job is in no jeopardy as he is the only punter in camp. Had the Vikings not used a draft pick on Locke, he might already be gone.

The good news is that next year Locke and Walsh will both be kicking indoors, and the pesky Minnesota wind will no longer be a factor.

Next: Mike Zimmer still questioning Patterson

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