The Minnesota Vikings have young, promising players at kicker and punter, and they also have an explosive return man in Cordarrelle Patterson.
The special teams unit for the Minnesota Vikings is expected to remain the same with kicker Blair Walsh and punter Jeff Locke both returning.
Walsh’s second season in the NFL was not as spectacular as his rookie season, but it was nonetheless impressive as he continued to demonstrate that he can kick accurately and from a long distance.
Walsh made a 54-yard field goal while making approximately 87 percent of his field goals. The former Georgia kicker will look to get back to his 2012 form, which involved him making 92 percent of his field-goal attempts.
Locke was taken in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, and he showed great power in his punting. His gross punting average was 44.2, and his control needs improvement. While Locke was able to pin opponents deep, he had trouble keeping the ball inside the goal line.
However, he had 23 punts that landed inside the 20-yard line. The former UCLA Bruin will become an even more dangerous punter if he can improve his control.
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is expected to resume his role as the primary kick return man for the Vikings, and cornerback Marcus Sherels will probably continue to return punts if he can stay on the roster.
Patterson tied an NFL record in his rookie season by returning a kickoff for 109 yards while returning 1,393 yards and two touchdowns total. Sherels also returned a punt for a touchdown, so the return game figures to be dangerous once again if both of those players return to their respective positions.
The future is bright in Minnesota with 24-year-olds manning the kicker and punter positions, and Patterson adds explosiveness that can replace Percy Harvin. However, the Vikings will have to play their first three games without suspended special teams coach Mike Priefer.