EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota’s kicking competition effectively ended Monday after the Vikings released veteran Kai Forbath, two days after he missed a 41-yard field goal against Jacksonville.
The Vikings saw six players exit Saturday’s preseason game with injuries, some of which coach Mike Zimmer expects to be season-ending.
Rookie Daniel Carlson, whom the Vikings traded up to draft in the fifth round, will become the team’s third kicker in three seasons.
“We just figured it was getting close to the last couple preseason games,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Kai did a great job while he was here. He’s a great kid. We just decided to go with Daniel.”
After going 4-for-4 on extra points and 2-for-2 on field goals against Denver, including a 60-yarder, Carlson looked sharp on kickoff duties versus Jacksonville.
“I think that’s one of the things competition really helps,” Carlson said. “Every kick is a pressure kick when you know your job’s going to be on the line and it’s probably going to be decided on a few different kicks. Over the years, I’ve experienced it in college and it’s a little different in the NFL, at the end of the day you’ve got to treat every kick the same whether it’s to win the Super Bowl or whether it’s just a preseason game or just practice. That’s what you try and replicate.”
Carlson’s consistency has stood out since he arrived in the Twin Cities, and he has impressed Zimmer with his leg strength and ability to come through on a handful of pressure kicks thus far.
“He’s been pretty calm all along,” Zimmer said. “Time will tell on that. It was nice seeing him in Denver, going out and kick those. It will be a little bit different when we’re playing San Francisco, I’m sure. We’ll just see how it goes. You make your decision and live with it.”
Forbath booted a career-high 32 field goals in 2017, which included six from 50 yards or further. The 30-year-old scored 130 points for the Vikings during the regular season while attempting a career-high 38 field goals. He ranks as the eighth-most-accurate kicker in NFL history, with an 85.9 percent success rate on field goals.
But despite his success, Forbath struggled at times with extra points, going 34-of-39 on such kicks. His five misses were the most in the NFL in 2017.
The Vikings also announced several roster moves on Monday, placing rookie defensive end Ade Aruna on injured reserve. Aruna was carted off the field during the first half of Saturday’s preseason game when his right knee buckled underneath him as he was being blocked.
“He’s a very, very talented kid,” Zimmer said. “It’ll set him back some, but on the same token, we’re going to keep him here for all the meetings here and everything, rehab, and do that. So I think that’ll probably be good for him, because the change to the NFL game was probably his biggest adjustment to make. But he’s really talented and everything he can do that way, so it’ll be exciting to get him back here next year.”
Three other players were waived with injury designation: tackle Cedrick Lang, who will undergo surgery on his leg, tight end Josiah Price (ACL) and fullback Johnny Stanton (ankle). They will be placed on injured reserve if they are not claimed.