The Minnesota Vikings moved up to draft a kicker on Saturday, and Kai Forbath was not willing to go on the record.
Day 3 of the NFL Draft is largely a crapshoot, with rare players that wind up making a difference. But the Minnesota Vikings moved backup in the fifth round on Saturday to take Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson, the No. 1-ranked kicker in this draft class by all accounts.
Kai Forbath made a career-high 32 field goals as the Vikings’ kicker last season. But he also missed six field goals and five extra points. That 87 percent accuracy on extra points was 31st in the league, but Forbath was brought back on a one-year deal in March.
Teams don’t draft a kicker, let alone move up to draft a kicker, without sending a clear signal they intend to have him as the guy to the exclusion of an incumbent. Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press called Forbath to get a reaction to the Vikings drafting his likely replacement. Let’s just call that a dead-end.
Saying anything to a media member would not have benefited Forbath at all. But Tomasson is clearly pretty plugged-in, perhaps more than any Vikings’ beat writer, if he has the kicker’s phone number.
None of Forbath’s $775,000 for this season is guaranteed, so the Vikings can move on easily if they want to. But general manager Rick Spielman suggested Forbath, at least early in offseason work, will have an opportunity to compete for his job.
The Vikings have been down this road before, as they drafted kicker Blair Walsh in 2012 (sixth round) and let veteran Ryan Longwell go right afterward. Walsh started well, going 10-for-10 on 50-plus yard field goals as a rookie, but he’ll live in franchise infamy for a missed chip-shot field goal in a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks in January of 2016.