Thanks to a trade and an injury, there is a chance that Matt Wile may be the odd man out of the special teams situation for the Minnesota Vikings.
The past year was an odd one for the Minnesota Vikings on special teams. Rookie kicker Daniel Carlson was released for missing kicks, veteran Dan Bailey was brought in, the team claimed a new punter and holder in Matt Wile off waivers, and long snapper Kevin McDermitt lost part of his finger on the field.
Now, things look different heading into 2019, but there is still chaos surrounding the unit. Special teams ace Marcus Sherels is gone as is Kevin McDermitt, but the writing is on the wall for punter and holder Matt Wile to make his exit as well.
Concern over his roster spot started when it was revealed the Minnesota Vikings had made a trade with the Baltimore Ravens for kicker and punter Kaare Vedvik, opening up competition for the job.
Strangely, Wile is currently the all-time Vikings leader in average yards per punt at 45.2 after his first season in Minnesota and he may stay there if the team decides to go with Vedvik. But the real problem comes when holding.
Last was Wile’s first year as a holder and it was rocky. There were some kicks from Carlson which may have gone through with a proper hold, but the ball didn’t quite get the right placement. And even holding has some competition now.
The Pioneer Press reports that an injury to the thumb on Wile has kept him from punting and holding during camp. In his place, wide receiver Chad Beebe, who should already be likely to make the team’s 53-man roster thanks to his pass-catching ability.
Without Wile, Bailey went 7-7 on kicks in practice with Cutting as the long snapper and Beebe holding, leading head coach Mike Zimmer to mention that the “operation was good” between those three.
In addition, if something were to happen with Dan Bailey, Vedvik could be the team’s kicker with Beebe remaining as the team’s holder. This versatility is something Minnesota often looks for in their players.
With a punter lined up and a holder doing a solid job, that might make Wile a one-year wonder for the Minnesota Vikings, even if he does sit on top of the franchise’s list of players with the highest average yards per punt.