Kaare Vedvik

NFC Notes: Falcons, Garoppolo, 49ers, Vikings

Falcons first-round offensive lineman Kaleb McGary is set to resume on-field activities after undergoing a cardiac ablation procedure at the beginning of the preseason. After the lineman missed his team’s first three preseason games, coach Dan Quinn made it clear that they’ll bring the rookie along slowly.

“The first part is, like today, participating in the walkthrough,” Quinn told Will McFadden of the team’s website. “And then he’ll get a good bit of the field work with Marty [Lauzon] and the athletic performance staff. And then once that’s good, we’ll be out a couple of weeks, make sure the conditioning is right. And then back into individual [drills], and then you get back into team [drills]. So we really stay strict to the policy we put into place for the guys to return to it. We just don’t back off of it, especially if you’ve been out for, in his case, two weeks.

“It’s a good sign that he had such a good report. But, like all players, we’re going to do the right thing and make sure nothing comes up.”

McFadden notes that the rookie was working with the second team during the early parts of preseason, but he was expected to emerge as the Falcons’ starting right tackle.

Some more notes from around the NFC:

  • Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off a torn ACL that shelved him for the 2018 campaign, but the 49ers organization is optimistic about his return. “I think what’s important, all the time, is you look at the totality of a camp and I think he’s had a really good camp, I really do,” general manager John Lynch said, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBCSportsBayArea.com. “I think the best thing for all of us is that is, I get hesitant and reluctant to say it, but is his recovery from his knee has been flawless.” The quarterback struggled during his preseason debut this evening, completing one of his six passes and tossing an interception.
  • 49ers tight end Garrett Celek is currently on the PUP, and Matt Maiocco of NBCSportsBayArea.com writes that the 31-year-old will be sidelined “well into the regular season” as he recovers from back surgery. Celek appeared in 15 games last season, hauling in five receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer explained some of his logic as he settles on a 53-man roster. “I don’t know that we’re real deep in the secondary,” Zimmer said (via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter). “So that might lend itself (to an extra LB). May keep an extra defensive lineman, less in the secondary and maybe keep one less running back. It all will work out.” When it comes to special teams, Tomasson believes the organization will ultimately opt for kicker Dan Bailey and punter Kaare Vedvik.

Latest On Vikings’ Kicking Situation

There is still not much clarity on the Vikings’ kicking situation, as Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune observes. Minnesota, of course, traded a fifth-round pick for Kaare Vedvik on Sunday, which suggests that he is a near lock to make the team. However, kicker Dan Bailey and punter Matt Wile remain on the roster, and head coach Mike Zimmer hasn’t tipped his hand just yet.

As was reported when the Vikings acquired Vedvik, the team could deploy him as both a punter and kicker. Zimmer said, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com“[y]eah, if he’s good enough, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But I don’t know. Again, I think everything is a possibility at this point.”

All three players are expected to see action in Minnesota’s second preseason contest on Sunday. Bailey has responded well to the increased pressure from Vedvik, as he nailed all seven of his attempts in Tuesday’s practice, including a 54-yarder. That was the first time he had been perfect in drills since training camp opened.

Wile, the team’s ordinary holder, cannot serve in that capacity for the time being, as he sliced his left thumb during last week’s preseason opener. But Goessling suggests that Wile’s progress as a holder could ultimately determine whether he makes the 53-man roster.

Again, it seems unlikely that Vedvik will be cut, but Bailey’s and Wile’s fates are still very much up in the air.

Packers Also Pursued Kaare Vedvik

It appears three NFC North teams discussed a Kaare Vedvik trade with the Ravens. While the Vikings ended up winning the pursuit, and the Bears were an obvious candidate to acquire a kicker, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets the Packers were also in the mix.

Green Bay is set for a 13th Mason Crosby season, but Vedvik has multiple roles. The Packers have used four punters in the past four seasons, with a different one — Tim Masthay, Jake Schum, Justin Vogel, J.K. Scott — spending a full season in that role. A 2018 fifth-round pick, Scott remains in place as the Packers’ punter. It would have obviously been curious to see the Packers trade a Day 3 choice for another punter.

Crosby, though, has one season (at $4.85MM) remaining on his contract. The career-long Packer made 30 of 37 field goal tries last season; four of those misses came on a rough day in Detroit. The soon-to-be 35-year-old kicker made 5 of 7 of his 50-plus-yard attempts in 2018.

The Vikings sent a fifth-round pick to the Ravens for Vedvik, a Norwegian-born specialist who kicked and punted at Marshall. Vedvik’s time as the Thundering Herd’s punter lasted longer than his stay as their kicker, and John Harbaugh used him in both capacities in the Ravens’ preseason opener last week. It remains unclear how the Vikings will deploy Vedvik.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings To Acquire K Kaare Vedvik From Ravens

The Kaare Vedvik sweepstakes will end with the Ravens sending their backup kicker to the Vikings, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Minnesota will send a 2020 fifth-round pick to Baltimore.

Not previously mentioned as a destination for the suddenly in-demand specialist, the Vikings outflanked a rival that almost certainly was in that mix. The Bears, who have featured one of the more public kicker needs in modern NFL history, were reported to be in the hunt for Vedvik. So were the Jets and two other teams. Instead, Vedvik will wear a slightly different shade of purple soon.

Interestingly, Schefter adds Vedvik could be used as Minnesota’s kicker and punter. Dan Bailey and Matt Wile serve as the Vikings’ incumbents at those roles. It would be obviously unique for a team to use a specialist for both roles in this era. When asked about the trade report Sunday, Mike Zimmer said, “I really like Dan Bailey,” Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.

The Ravens have stashed Vedvik, a 2018 UDFA, for two offseasons and kept him on IR last season in hopes of a future trade. The mid-Day 3 return represents good value for a kicker without any NFL game experience. He did, however, connect on each of his four field goal tries in the Ravens’ preseason opener. This included a 55-yarder.

For the most part, Vedvik only saw action for two seasons at Marshall. He did serve as the Thundering Herd’s kicker and punter in his 2017 senior season, however. The Norwegian-born specialist also began as a punter before seeing action as a kicker. Vedvik was Marshall’s punter for two seasons and made 10 of 16 field goals for the Conference USA program as a senior.

For the Vikings, this represents another fifth-round draft choice used on a kicker. They drafted Daniel Carlson in Round 5 in 2018 but cut him after a woeful performance against the Packers in a Week 2 tie. Bailey became the Vikings’ kicker soon after. The longtime Cowboy made 21 of 28 field goal tries as a Viking, also hitting 30 of 31 PATs. A fourth-year punter, Wile averaged 45.2 yards per boot (14th in the NFL) last season in Minnesota.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

At Least Four Teams Inquire On Ravens K Kaare Vedvik

Not many backup kickers have generated the type of interest that Ravens’ understudy Kaare Vedvik has, but not many backup kickers are as talented as Vedvik. We learned on Saturday that the Bears and Jets are interested in Vedvik, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that at least four teams have approached Baltimore about a trade (Twitter link).

Schefter says that at least two of the four teams are in the NFC North, and it’s almost certain that Chicago is one of the inquiring clubs. The Lions appear set at the position with Matt Prater, but it’s not at all surprising to learn that the Packers and/or Vikings are interested in a potential upgrade.

Vedvik, a Norwegian-born kicker who played his college ball at Marshall, signed with the Ravens as a UDFA last year and was extremely impressive last preseason. He was generating plenty of trade buzz before a bizarre assault landed him in the hospital and on the non-football injury list. However, he has picked up right where he left off, nailing all four of his field goal attempts in the Ravens’ first preseason game on Thursday, including a 55-yard boot.

He is also a gifted punter, and as such, any acquiring team could fill two roster spots with one player. Unless Justin Tucker or Sam Koch suffers an injury over the coming weeks, Baltimore will surely trade Vedvik, and the team will have no shortage of potential trade partners.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets, Bears Eyeing Ravens K Kaare Vedvik?

We heard earlier today that the Jets were auditioning a pair of kickers, but it sounds like the front office could instead opt for a trade. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that the Jets could make a run at Ravens kicker Kaare Vedvik, a player the organization was eyeing last offseason. However, Mehta adds that the Jets are convinced that the Bears will ultimately pull off a trade for Vedvik.

As Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com writes, the 25-year-old Vedvik was a standout during last year’s preseason and this year’s training camp. The kicker was hospitalized last September after being assaulted in Baltimore, and Vedvik spent the rest of the season sitting on the non-football injury list. This year, the special teamer is healthy, but he naturally has no chance of winning the starting gig over Justin Tucker. Therefore, hearing his name on the trade block isn’t that much of a surprise, especially since coach John Harbaugh said back in March that the player would likely be dealt.

“I fully expect that he’ll kick well enough for us to trade him,” Harbaugh said (via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley). “That’s kind of the goal. He’s capable of kicking in the NFL. We probably could have traded him last year.”

The Jets are hunting for competition to current starter Chandler Catanzaro, who missed a pair of extra points during his team’s preseason opener. Meanwhile, the Bears are watching as a pair of unproven options, Eddy Pineiro and Elliott Fry, battle for the starting gig. The Bears were connected to veteran Robbie Gould before he inked an extension with the 49ers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: White, Jets, Broncos, Ravens

One of the top defenders available in a defense-heavy prospect pool, Devin White has begun to set up pre-draft visits. The Giants, Bengals and Buccaneers will host the LSU-developed linebacker, Amie Just of NOLA.com notes. All three teams pick in the top 11, and White has been often mocked to be off the board in between the Bucs’ No. 5 pick and the Bengals’ No. 11 choice. Although the Giants could use a young inside linebacker alongside Alec Ogletree, they have been linked to pass rushers at No. 6 — if they don’t, in fact, select their next quarterback then. The Bengals have a need on their defensive second level, which now lacks Vontaze Burfict. Tampa Bay lost Kwon Alexander but still has Lavonte David. Kendell Beckwith, White’s college teammate, missed all of last season.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Peyton Manning has advocated for Adam Gase on a few occasions, and he did so again to help steer Trevor Siemian to Gase’s current team. Siemian signed with the Jets this week. Siemian said (via Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com) his decision came down to, like Anthony Barr‘s, New York or Minnesota. After exchanging texts with Manning, the new Jets backup indicated his former teammate’s belief in Gase remains. This and other factors helped the fifth-year quarterback choose the Jets. Manning played three seasons under Gase, setting multiple high-profile records in 2013. Siemian did not arrive in Denver until the Gary Kubiak regime, however. The Vikings were interested in bringing back Siemian and have yet to sign a replacement QB2, though that is the goal.
  • The Broncos are not planning to bring back Domata Peko, their nose tackle of two seasons. Although Shelby Harris has not yet signed his second-round RFA tender, the Broncos plan to make the emerging interior lineman their starting nose, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. Harris graded as, by far, Denver’s best defensive lineman last season, per Pro Football Focus, but played the fewest snaps (391) of anyone in the team’s five-man rotation. Four of those players (Harris, Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis and the recently re-signed Zach Kerr) remain, but it looks like Harris — PFF’s No. 9 overall inside defender — will see more time in 2019.
  • Viewed as a possible first-round pick, N.C. State alum Garrett Bradbury may be benefiting from what is a weak center class. The interior blocker might not be a lock for Round 1, with Matt Miller of Bleacher Report having spoken with just one scout that views him as a first-round talent. Bradbury, a three-year starter for the Wolfpack, grades as the NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s No. 22 overall prospect.
  • The Ravens do not have openings at kicker or punter, but the team has versatile specialist Kaare Vedvik on its roster for potential trade purposes. “I fully expect that he’ll kick well enough for us to trade him. That’s kind of, I would say, the goal,” John Harbaugh said this week (via Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com). Teams were interested in acquiring Vedvik during the 2018 preseason, when he made 8 of 9 field goal tries — including a 56-yarder — but the Norwegian kicker/punter who kicked at Marshall in college suffered injuries from an assault on Sept. 1 of last year. He spent the season on the Ravens’ NFI list.

North Rumors: Steelers, Vikes, Ravens, Lions

While Le’Veon Bell has given no indication as to when he’ll report to the Steelers, those involved in the matter “estimate” Bell will arrive on Saturday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). That’s far from a declarative report, but showing on Saturday would allow Bell to receive his game check for Pittsburgh’s Week 1 contest, even though he almost certainly won’t play in the game. The Steelers won’t rescind Bell’s franchise tag, which is scheduled to pay him roughly $14.5MM for the 2018 season, nor will they trade the All-Pro running back, per Rapoport. Bell’s agent suggested workload is a concern for the superstar, but head coach Mike Tomlin says he won’t discuss Bell’s projected usage with the latter’s representation, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • After years of moonlighting as the Vikings‘ defensive play-caller, head coach Mike Zimmer admits he’s considered handing duties off to coordinator George Edwards, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. However, Zimmer is confident is his ability to make adjustments late in games, and also doesn’t want to constantly second-guess Edwards. “I have a style of how I call a game. George, even though he tries to do it like I do it, I don’t want to tell him, ‘Oh I hate that call’ or ‘You should’ve called this,'” said Zimer. “I don’t think that’s fair to him. If I want something called, I should call it.”
  • Ravens kicker Kaare Vedvik, who was hospitalized with severe head injuries over the weekend, is now visiting the club at its facility, reports Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Vedvik, who had injuries consistent with an assault, was placed on the non-football injury list. Rival teams were reportedly interested in the rookie kicker heading into roster cutdowns, and a trade market could have existed. Vedvik won’t be eligible to play this season, but could compete for a role in 2019 if he’s fully healthy.
  • The Lions didn’t have a single player they cut over the weekend land on another roster via a waiver claim or a free agent signing, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. While that could indicate Detroit made all the correct decisions on Saturday/Sunday, it could also mean the Lions have a weakness at the back of their roster. With that in mind, the Lions and general manager Bob Quinn could make adding depth a priority over the next few weeks.

AFC Notes: Ravens, Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos

Undrafted rookie kicker Kaare Vedvik wasn’t going to make the Ravens due to the presence of Justin Tucker, but his leg proved so impressive this offseason that it was reported multiple teams were interested in trading for him. Those hopes appeared to be dashed, at least temporarily, when Vedvik was rushed to the hospital with very serious injuries just before roster cuts.

Vedvik can’t really remember what happened to him, but it appears police are suspecting some sort of foul play as he suffered serious head trauma. Ravens coach John Harbaugh thinks it “cost him a chance to kick in this league” and added “there were plenty of trade talks” involving Vedvik according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. It’s an unfortunate situation all around for the Norway native who was shaping up to be a very good story. Here’s to hoping he makes a full recovery.

More from around the AFC:

  • It’s been a long road back to the field for Chiefs All-Pro safety Eric Berry. Berry, who suffered an Achilles tear that cost him the entire 2017 season, is now suffering from a heel injury that may cause him to miss Week 1 according to Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star. Heel and Achilles injuries can be closely related so it makes sense why the team would want to be cautious, but being without Berry for any period of time would be a huge blow to an already weak Kansas City secondary.
  • The Raiders’ trade for Martavis Bryant ended in disaster. The team surrendered a third round pick for the oft-troubled receiver, and he ended up never playing a down for them. Facing yet another suspension, the team cut him this past weekend. Despite all that, Raiders coach Jon Gruden is somehow still open to bringing Bryant back, saying “perhaps we’ll get Martavis again next year and get the best out of him” adding that he’s a “great talent” and that the move “was a risk I think well worth taking” per ProFootballTalk.com.
  • Rookie running back Royce Freeman has been named the Broncos’ starter over incumbent Devontae Booker, according to Mike Klis of 9News. Freeman, a third round pick from Oregon, started the summer as the number two but leapfrogged Booker due to a strong preseason.

North Notes: Bears, Ravens, Packers, Browns

Among the offers the Raiders received for edge rusher Khalil Mack, the Bears‘ was “by far” the strongest, tweets Michael Lombardi of The Athletic. Chicago eventually acquired Mack, so it’s unsurprising their offer was the most substantial, but Lombardi’s report may indicate the Bears outbid rivals by several magnitudes. In the end, Chicago sent Oakland a 2019 first-round pic, a 2010 first-round pick, a 2020 third-round pick, and a 2019 sixth-round pick in exchange for Mack, a 2020 second-round round pick, and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick. The Bears have since extended Mack, making him the NFL’s highest-paid defender.