While Dan Bailey had one hell of a comeback year adding some much needed stability to the kicking position, the fact is he will be a free agent this offseason. Which could once again have the Minnesota Vikings looking for a new kicker. So while the free agent class will have guys like Crosby, Fairbairn, and Zuerlein available this year, something tells me with the current $$$ situation the Vikings are in, they won’t be looking to break the bank on a big name kicker this offseason.
So what other option does that leave them? You guessed it, the NFL Draft. The Vikings have been on quite the roller coaster ride over the last handful of years with rookie kickers, first Blair Walsh … and then Dan Carlson. So while the Vikings front office might be a little gun shy on bringing in a youngster, it is a possibility, so lets get to know the cream of the crop in this years upcoming draft class.
Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia
Is there anything that you need to know about this guy other than the fact his nickname is “Hotrod” and he wears specs when he is kicking? Oh fine. The Bulldog has shown off his great accuracy and his big leg during his college career with a FG % of 82.5 and an eye popping 100% from XP (200/200). No doubt he is the best kicking prospect in the class, but another former Bulldog kicker might hit to close to home for Zimmer and the Vikings. Add the fact that Blankenship would cost a draft pick as he is currently projected to go in the 4th – 6th round range, something tells me any hope of him wearing purple next year should be instantly squashed.
Projection: 4th- 6th round
Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern
Being from Georgia Southern many fans got their first look at Bass in this years Senior Bowl, where he didn’t’ disappoint making field goals from 41 and 50 yards and also going 4/4 on extra points. Needs to be more reliable from the 40-49 yard range (8/13) in 2020, but does have a good leg and will get a shot in a camp. Keep your eyes pealed for him as he’ll be one of 3 kickers at the NFL Combine, we all know everyone watches the combine for the kickers.
JJ Molson, UCLA
Molson is another kicker that will be at the NFL Combine. While the UCLA kicker showed some promise in his early years at UCLA he has watched his game and FG numbers decline over the past few years to the point where he was a 57% kicker this past season. While he has the tools that have draftniks putting him in the top tier of kickers, he seems like to much of a project for me and for Vikings fans.
Dominik Eberle, Utah St.
And now on to my favorite kicker of the bunch, the former soccer playing German who has been winning the hearts of Utah St. fans for the past few years. It’s not his career fg 79%, or his career 100% xp that makes me like him so much. It’s the fact that every year he has gotten better. He has the accuracy and a big leg that teams will gladly give him a look as an UDFA and if I had my pick, this guy would be wearing purple in 2020.