Competition is needed for Matt Wile at holder for the Minnesota Vikings

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Matt Wile
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Matt Wile /

The Minnesota Vikings are putting a lot of faith in Matt Wile to be the team’s holder on special teams after he struggled in his first year at the job.

Several positions on a professional football team often are overlooked when it comes to the jobs they do. For example, offensive linemen never receive the love they deserve and most special teams players fall under the radar. But the Minnesota Vikings need to know they have solid players all over the field.

One place where the team struggled badly last season was in the kicking game, where rookie kicker Daniel Carlson was quickly kicked to the curb and veteran Dan Bailey was brought in to hopefully right the ship.

Even Bailey, a kicker who made over 84 percent of his kicks during six of his seven seasons before arriving in Minnesota converted only 75 percent of his attempts during the 2018 NFL season, which was disappointing.

Later, it was revealed that Matt Wile was in his first year as a holder on special teams. This explained why there were occasions when the hold would be crooked or mistimed as well as occasions where the laces of the football would be facing inward, causing issues with the kick.

Wile has been able to take an offseason to work on his holding, but that doesn’t mean the team should ignore the possibility of having competition or someone to step in if some improvement isn’t seen during training camp and preseason.

This doesn’t mean signing a player to hold, but it could be something as simple as having another player on the roster work at the skill during camp to be ready if things don’t quite go as planned.

Even worse, pulling a player off another position to learn to hold cuts into their time with coaches and other drills, meaning they aren’t getting the full benefit of their time at their primary position. However, since a holder is such a key part in a play that results in either points or a turnover on downs, this is a task which must be taken seriously.

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Sure, Matt Wile is currently the franchise all-time leader in yards per punt, but if he is going to be the holder for the team as well as the punter he will need to be solid in his position. Meanwhile, as he perfects the craft, the Minnesota Vikings should have some kind of insurance policy ready on the roster.