Nate Kaeding is a curious choice as the Vikings’ kicking coach

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) Nate Kaeding
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) Nate Kaeding /

The Minnesota Vikings choice for a kicker coach was revealed on Wednesday, but his playoff history makes it a questionable choice.

For most fans of the Minnesota Vikings, a discussion about kickers is enough to get their blood to boil. As the team has yet to enter training camp, there have already been multiple discussions about the team’s’ field goal unit ranging from asking for competition for incumbent kicker Dan Bailey and demanding competition for holder Matt Wile.

Even as the Vikings replaced maligned special teams coach Mike Preifer with Marwan Maloof, Vikings fans still have to be concerned with a unit that has not only sabotaged games over the past couple of years, but complete seasons with playoff failures.

With the field goal unit in such flux (although not as much as the team’s offensive line), the Vikings toyed with the idea of bringing in a special kickers coach to avoid what happened with Blair Walsh, Kai Forbath and then Daniel Carlson. The identity of this man was shrouded in mystery for months, but as the Minnesota Vikings opened their second round of OTAs, the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Andrew Krammer ended the suspense on Twitter.

On the surface, the hiring of Nate Kaeding makes sense. The 10-year veteran spent nine years with the San Diego Chargers and part of a tenth with the Miami Dolphins and converted 86.2 percent (181-for-210) of his field goal opportunities and 99.4 percent of his extra point attempts (Note: extra points were kicked from 19 yards during his career as opposed to the 33-yard line today).

With a track record of regular season success, he should help Bailey, who has made just 75 percent of his kicks the past two seasons after drilling 89.5 percent (171-for-191) during the first six seasons of his career. As with most Vikings kickers, Kaeding brings an extra level of baggage that is all too perfect for this franchise.

In eight career playoff games, Kaeding was just 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) in field goal attempts. To make matters worse, Kaeding missed a potential game-winning field goal against the New York Jets in 2006 and torpedoed a 15-1 season by the Chargers in 2009 by going 0-for-3 (including a potential game-winner) against the New England Patriots.

By all admissions, perhaps whichever kicking coach the Vikings were going to acquire was going to have some sort of baggage. Besides, if the Vikings were looking for a kicking coach that checked all of the boxes, there’s a good chance that player would still be playing today (think Adam Vinatieri).

light. Must Read. Why Dalvin Cook will have a monster season in 2019

For a franchise that has suffered through Gary Anderson in 1998 and Walsh in 2015, seeing Kaeding try to teach the Vikings’ kickers how to make a clutch field goal might be too close for comfort. In a season where Minnesota has little room for error, the Vikings will cross their fingers and hope for the best.