Kai Forbath vs. Daniel Carlson
Per usual, all eyes will be on the kicker battle as the Vikings head into training camp. Last year, Kai Forbath had a solid season kicking field goals, converting 32 of 38 opportunities (84.2 percent) and he also nailed a pair of clutch kicks from 49 and 53 yards in Minnesota’s playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints.
While Forbath’s numbers look pretty good at first glance, he doesn’t come without his warts. The seventh-year veteran missed five extra points last season and didn’t have the leg that is ideal for being a clutch kicker.
The Vikings got aggressive in the draft last April to provide Forbath some competition, trading up to select Auburn’s Daniel Carlson in the fifth round. While trades for a kicker are usually the butt of jokes, Carlson’s resume out of Auburn is one that has earned him the nickname of “Legatron” (laughter intensifies).
For the first three years of his college career, Carlson was nearly automatic for the Tigers converting field goals 83.1 percent of the time (69-for-83), including an 87.5 percent clip (28-for-32) in his junior season.
His senior year (23-for-31, 74.2 percent) didn’t follow the trend, but the Vikings were confident enough to make the draft selection anyway (Carlson was 198-for-198 on extra points at Auburn too, but NFL extra points are further back than NCAA extra points).
Training camp battles are usually known as hard-hitting slugfests, but Carlson vs. Forbath is going to be one that people will pay the price of admission to see.