5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. Kansas City Chiefs – Preseason Week 3

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks
(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Ihmir Smith-Marsette /

Smith-Marsette will win the kick returner job

Special teams were a disaster for the Vikings last season and a big reason why was their work on kick returns. The Vikings haven’t had a kickoff or punt returned for a touchdown since 2016, and last year, they didn’t have a punt return over 13 yards. That was a big reason the Vikings had terrible field position and have made special teams a priority during training camp.

One player that has received the message is wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette. The rookie looked explosive against the Colts, recording a 17-yard punt return and a 41-yard kickoff return.

While Zimmer lamented Smith-Marsette’s decision to take it out of the end zone on Saturday, he also complimented his explosiveness. That was something the Vikings didn’t have at returner last year when K.J. Osborn and Chad Beebe handled most of the work.

The starting returner job could belong to Kene Nwangwu once he recovers from a hyperextended knee, but Smith-Marsette could win the job in the short term with a couple of nice returns.