OWINGS MILLS – The Ravens have traded backup kicker Kaare Vedvik to the Minnesota Vikings for a fifth-round draft pick pending a physical, capping an inspiring recovery for Vedvik, whose nascent NFL career was stalled after he suffered a vicious assault last year in downtown Baltimore.
Vedvik was on the field with the Ravens for their workout Aug. 11 before general manager Eric DeCosta had a long conversation with head coach John Harbaugh and kicking coach Randy Brown. Vedvik then left the field, and the Ravens announced the deal during practice.
Vedvik was not available to meet with the media after practice, but kicker Justin Tucker said, “We couldn’t be more stoked for him. At the exact same time, we’re not surprised.”
Tucker said it was a surreal scene to be on the practice field when a team official came to Vedvik and said, “All right. Hit the showers. You’re now a member of the Minnesota Vikings.”
Vedvik, 25, signed with the Ravens as an undrafted rookie last year out of Marshall. A native of Norway, Vedvik went to high school in Kansas as an exchange student and was discovered after making a 70-yard field goal at a kicking camp.
He ended up kicking and punting at Marshall and also demonstrated his ability in both areas for the Ravens last summer. Vedvik went 8-for-9 on field goals last preseason for the Ravens and averaged 46.8 yards on 19 punts.
He was drawing considerable trade interest late last preseason, but early on the morning of Sept. 1, just hours before the Ravens initial 53-man roster had to be set, Vedvik was assaulted in downtown Baltimore and hospitalized with head injuries. The Ravens placed him on the non-football-injury list, and he remained in the organization all year as he recovered.
Vedvik returned to the field this spring, and at first he struggled to make field goals as consistently as he did last summer. But special teams coach Chris Horton said Vedvik was “on schedule,” and as the summer wore on, he appeared to be getting stronger and more consistent.
In the preseason opener against Jacksonville Aug. 8, Vedvik went 4-for-4 on field goals, including a 55-yarder, and had punts of 58 and 53 yards. That was apparently enough for the Vikings to deal a fifth-round draft pick, a solid return for the Ravens, who had no spot for Vedvik on their roster with Tucker entrenched as the team’s franchise kicker and Sam Koch the established punter.
While it might seem ideal from a roster standpoint to have one player handle both kicking and punting, former Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said that it’s hard for one player to handle both at the NFL level given the different muscle memory, the work required for each discipline and other factors. But the Vikings are expected to at least look at Vedvik in both areas.
Speaking after the Jaguars game, Vedvik said his return to the field was more emotional than he expected.
“It’s been a long year building up to come back to this moment again,” he said. “… You think your life’s supposed to go a certain way. You think you have a certain amount of control, and then in moments like with what happened last year, you kind of lose that sense.”
Horton, the Ravens new special teams coordinator, said he was “really fired up for Kaare. … He deserves it after everything he’s been through. What an opportunity for him.”
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