Jaydon Mickens could fix the punt return problems for the Minnesota Vikings.
Special teams certainly has not been a strength of the Minnesota Vikings since Mike Zimmer took over as the franchise’s head coach in 2014.
Under Zimmer, the Vikings have struggled with kicking, punting, and this season the team’s return game is causing a ton of problems. Currently, Minnesota ranks last in the NFL in punt return average and 19th in kick return average.
In addition to their lack of return yards, the Vikings have also seen their returners cough up the football more than once this year. If Minnesota doesn’t find a way to fix this aspect of their team sooner than later, it could potentially prevent them from earning a trip to the playoffs this season.
Recently waived punt returner could help the Minnesota Vikings
A productive player getting let go by a team with only a month left in the season isn’t something that happens often in the NFL. But on Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to waive talented return-man, Jaydon Mickens.
Mickens, who last appeared in a game for the Bucs back in Week 9, is an experienced returner who could quickly fix the Vikings’ lack of production this year when fielding both punt and kick returns. In nine appearances for Tampa Bay this season, he’s averaged 6.6 yards per punt return and 24.1 yards per kick return.
In comparison, current Minnesota punt returner K.J. Osborn is only averaging 3.9 yards per punt return and 21.6 yards per kick return this year. So at the very least, the Vikings should put in a claim for Mickens to try and get him on their roster for the rest of the season.
The bad news is that there are teams like the Arizona Cardinals that rank lower in the standings than Minnesota and also need returning help. So it’s possible that he could be claimed before the waiver order even gets to the Vikings.
What did we learn about the Minnesota Vikings from their nail-biting overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13?
Hopefully, Minnesota’s luck during the second half of the season continues and they are able to claim Mickens before he clears waivers and signs with someone else.