4 biggest concerns for the 2021 Minnesota Vikings
By Nik Edlund
Performance of the special teams
The Vikings’ special teams unit was a disaster a season ago. They allowed returns for touchdowns, bobbled and bumbled snaps, couldn’t consistently make kicks, and had one of the worst punters in the NFL.
Minnesota’s return game was also nonexistent as K.J. Osborn failed in the role handed to him as the primary returner and the team was forced to go back to Ameer Abdullah and Chad Beebe, who Osborn was drafted three rounds too early in 2020 to replace.
The Vikings should be concerned about this season’s special teams unit and wonder if they actually improved in this area during the last few months.
Britton Colquitt is returning as Minnesota’s punter and he’ll get competition from 30-year-old rookie Zach Von Rosenberg, but the veteran is likely to win that battle. So the punt game probably isn’t going to be any better next season.
Greg Joseph will battle undrafted rookie Riley Patterson to be the Vikings’ kicker and while neither should be worse than Dan Bailey was a season ago, there’s reason to worry about each of their performances.
Joseph hasn’t kicked in the league since 2019 and he hasn’t attempted a field goal in a regular-season game since 2018. That is a bit worrisome. His competition is a rookie and we all remember what happened during the last time Minnesota went with a rookie as the team’s kicker.
The return game will be one of the more competitive positions on the Vikings’ roster this summer.
Kene Nwangwu, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Whop Philyor, and Myron Mitchell will all battle it out with Osborn, Beebe, and Abdullah. If any of those rookies win the return jobs, Minnesota should be worried they’ll pull an Osborn and fail in that role when the games begin to count.
While the Vikings special teams should be full of new faces, and that should give the team hope, they should be equally concerned about the lack of experience that makes up the majority of the key positions on this facet of their ball club.