The Minnesota Vikings will bring former Brown University long snapper Courtland Clavette to rookie minicamp for a tryout.
Could this be the beginning of Long Snapper Smackdown 2.0?
According to the Providence Journal, the Vikings have invited former Brown University long snapper Courtland Clavette to this weekend’s rookie minicamp at Winter Park.
This is notable largely because Clavette already got a look from Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer last offseason. Clavette ultimately signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was later released.
As you maybe recall, the Vikings themselves signed Kevin McDermott to compete with long time long snapper Cullen Loeffler. McDermott ultimately beat out Loeffler.
McDermott was chosen over Loeffler in part to help out Jeff Locke, who had been one of the lowest-graded punters in the NFL (per PFF) each of his two years in the league. After Loeffler was cut, Mike Zimmer revealed that when they tracked every training camp long snap, they learned that McDermott got the ball to Locke a touch faster and with a bit more accuracy.
That improved timing didn’t help Locke who finished the 2015 season again as one of PFF’s lowest-graded punters. Locke was also the holder who neglected to turn the laces out on Blair Walsh’s missed chip-shot field goal that lost the Vikings their first-round playoff game against the Seahawks.
So we have to ask, does the presence of Clavette at rookie minicamp mean we could end up with another long snapper battle in training camp? A better question: Could we end up with a completely different long snapper-punter combo in 2016?
In addition to Clavette, the Vikings this weekend will also try out former West Virginia punter Nick O’Toole aka Boomstache. It had been reported that Minnesota would try out former NDSU punter Ben LeCompte but that has apparently been pushed back.
We’re probably getting a little ahead of ourselves with these speculations about the Vikings special teams, since neither O’Toole nor Clavette has actually worked out let alone been signed. Let’s just say, the way things worked out last year in the kicking and punting games, you can understand if the Vikings at least want to look at some options.