View Full Version : Edinger's Tale - Nice Read

07-05-2005, 08:25 PM
From Viking Update.


For kicker Paul Edinger, timing is everything – the timing in signing with the Vikings and the timing he has when approaching a football before a kick. See what the kicker had to say about his technique, his past struggles, and the competition between himself and Aaron Elling.

Who knows how things might have been different if fate – or, in this case, the Chicago Bears – hadn’t step up met the Vikings’ offer sheet to Paul Edinger two years ago?

The Vikings might never have had to deal with their revolving door of kickers. They might have been able to place a hot kicker on a team that sorely needed one. And on Edinger’s side of the equation, he might have avoided a slump last year that eventually caused him to relocate to Minnesota anyway.

But the Bears did meet the Vikings’ offer sheet, and Edinger did slump in the Windy City, and the Vikings continued their seemingly elusive search for a kicker.

First, Edinger’s tale:

“Things were just going downfill for me last year. I had a bad year and they wanted to bring somebody in to get it right and they did. I was ready to move on and get a start somewhere else,� he said.

In his first three seasons in the NFL, Edinger’s field goal accuracy of 77.8, 83.9 and 78.6 percent were very respectable. But in 2003, he declined to 72.2 percent, then went below what most teams would deem acceptable when his accuracy plummeted to 62.5 percent last season.

He asked for his release and it was eventually granted, after the Bears signed former Viking Doug Brien, late of the New York Jets. Edinger didn’t disagree with a media report that said he was actually kicking better than Brien in spring camp just before his release.

But the bad kicks in 2004 that brought about his release in 2005 were oh-so-close to being good kicks, he said.

“When it was one of these times that kicked a bad kick, I was just going to the ball too quick, a split second too fast. I wasn’t allowing myself to get a good kick.�

Despite another report saying he had changed his style, Edinger said he hasn’t changed that. He still lined up in developmental camps with the Vikings facing opposite the kicking direction and stepping around to face the goal posts once the ball is being snapped, just like he did in Chicago.

“From snap to kick, all three of here get it off in different times. It’s just where you feel comfortable.�

“I just know that right now I’m more confident than I was during the season last year. I wasn’t that confident when I started missing. I just feel now that I’ve got it under control and just put the past behind me, where it belongs, and move on. I feel as good as did the year before last year.�

No matter the point in time of his professional career, whether it be an accurate era in the field goal department or a slump that kickers inevitably seem to go through, Edinger has never been a kicker with a cannon leg.

And therein lies the Vikings’ conundrum: Do they keep Edinger, a kicker they feel can be pretty accurate in 2005 but whose kickoffs are limited? Or do they keep Aaron Elling, a less experienced kicker who has displayed his booming kickoffs all spring but ran into his own field goal slump during last year’s training camp, eventually spurring his release before the regular season? Or, heaven forbid, relent and keep both, Edinger for field goals and Elling for kickoffs and longer field goals?

Head coach Mike Tice has said he doesn’t plan on keeping two kickers and a punter, but he also admits he says that nearly every off-season before feeling forced into doing exactly that.

“Aaron (Elling) hits the ball very, very well and still lacks some consistency,� Tice said in early June. “Certainly Edinger has the experience and the poise that you’re looking for. … Edinger needs to work on his kickoffs. I’m pretty sure he’ll bounce back with his accuracy. He had an off year. Aaron is just the opposite. He needs to work on his (field goal) accuracy. I think it’s going to be a competition that’s going to go down to the wire.�

Edinger admits the race for the (lone?) job is tight, but he doesn’t consider himself a liability on kickoffs.

“My leg strength has always been talked about ever since I came into the league,� he said. “Yeah, I don’t kick it through the end zone, I don’t get a lot of touchbacks, but with the cover teams I’ve had in Chicago, which have been great, we got the job done. We got one kickoff returned against us in five years.�

Said he averages a hang time of about 3.85 seconds on kicks to about the 10-yard line. Elling averages closer to 4 seconds on kicks near the end zone.

Edinger says he is improving, at least his consistency, in the kickoff department.

“I’m starting to get that under control and be more consistent, as opposed to maybe I would hit a short one because I kicked underneath it. I’m not doing that as much or at all now,� he said. “I’m just staying under control, kicking a good ball down inside the 10 or at the 10, if not further, depending on what time of year it is. You can’t kick as far as somebody down South or indoors when you’re kicking off outside up North when it’s 2 degrees out – it’s impossible.�

In the end, his ability to hit solid kickoffs will likely become the deciding factor on whether or not he stays employed in Minnesota. He called his opportunity to join the Vikings “the only thing going� for him, saying Tennessee showed mild interest before signing with Minnesota.

The Vikings’ courtship of him two years ago may be an advantage for him, but he also knows he has some formidable competition in Elling.

“Right now, I think (the kicking competition) is even, but they did bring me in after they tried to get me two years ago. They still pursued me and wanted me to come here,� Edinger said. “I’d say it’s even. Aaron’s got a great leg. He kicks the ball good. I’m impressed watching him in practice. I’ve only (previously) seen him in games and kicking at Soldier Field.�

In two months, both kickers will know their fate.

07-05-2005, 08:47 PM
This is going to be one of the most interesting battles in training camp this year. I always regretted that the Vikes didn't offer more to Edinger when the first chance came round as it would have solved the issues that we've had in recent years. However Elling is coming back and it wil be interesting to see how the two match up against each, either way the competition will be good for both and will benefit the winner no end. Of course we may well yet end up with both on the roster despite Tice's statements to the contrary.
I suspect that it will come down to who is more consistent in terms of FG's and has the leg to make the longer attempts- kickoffs are an issue but with the faith that we have in the new-look D then this may be overlooked in favour of FG completion.

07-05-2005, 09:07 PM
Why don't they want two kickers? If it gets the job done why is it a problem? Salary? Can someone explain???

07-05-2005, 09:18 PM
Probably to keep the roster down. Of course, I base this off my Madden franchise.

07-05-2005, 09:18 PM
"akvikefan89" wrote:

Why don't they want two kickers? If it gets the job done why is it a problem? Salary? Can someone explain???

I'm guessing it's a salary issue and a 53 man roster issue. I haven't looked into it, but I doubt a lot of teams carry more than one kicker on their 53 man roster.

07-05-2005, 09:28 PM
"Prophet" wrote:

"akvikefan89" wrote:

Why don't they want two kickers? If it gets the job done why is it a problem? Salary? Can someone explain???

I'm guessing it's a salary issue and a 53 man roster issue. I haven't looked into it, but I doubt a lot of teams carry more than one kicker on their 53 man roster.

Im not sure.. but..

I recall Tice saying before minicamp that he hated keeping 3 guys to do kicking and punting coz of roster reasons.. he said itll mean he cannot have a backup player who could make special teams better.

07-05-2005, 09:54 PM
Hmmm... It just seems silly to cut one of them, they are both good at one or the other (Kickoffs or Field Goals)
I hope one of them steps up and improves.

Del Rio
07-05-2005, 10:00 PM
It always bugs me when he faces the other way i have no idea why. More importantly I would really like to have the kickoffs go deeper then the ten yard line. That was killing our young defense last year.

07-05-2005, 10:25 PM
This is off topic but why is the "favorite player" under
everyones avatar now replaced with a : ???