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Notebook: Colquitt Excited About Early Chemistry with Bailey

EAGAN, Minn. — Britton Colquitt is the new punter and holder in Minnesota, and he's bringing a big personality along with his impressive background.

The Vikings on Sunday added Colquitt, who was released Saturday by Cleveland.

But it was smooth sailing for Colquitt on his first day as a Viking, as he said he connected quickly with kicker Dan Bailey and long snapper Austin Cutting.

"I felt like I had a really good day and feel good about everyone in front of me," Colquitt said. "I'm still trying to get to know them and introduce myself to them, but me and the guys worked well together as far as snap, hold and kick.

"Dan went 6-for-6, so it was a good day," Colquitt added. "I felt like it wasn't too complicated and that we got some good stuff done. We've got some good chemistry."

Colquitt is entering his 10th season and played for Denver and Cleveland. He has 718 career punts tallying 32,660 yards for a gross average of 45.5 in 144 regular-season games. His career net average is 39.3.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said the team coveted Colquitt's experience, both as a punter and as a holder.

"He's just a good punter, and we had an opportunity to get him," Zimmer said. "And he's been to the Pro Bowl. So, I think that was really the major factor.

"[Holding] does [play into it], but it's not the, you know, his primary job is to punt," Zimmer added. "But he's been a good holder, too, for quite a while."

Colquitt reunites with Gary Kubiak, who was the head coach in Denver when Colquitt helped the team win Super Bowl 50. But the punter said Monday he didn't realize was on Minnesota's staff.

"It actually didn't play any role at all. I'm serious. I didn't know Coach was here until I got here last night and somebody told me," Colquitt said of Kubiak's potential influence. "I love the guy and went and talked to him today … we shook hands and hugged and all those things, so it's good to be back with him.

"But whatever was out there about him calling me or whatever was kind of dramatic. I don't know that Gary Kubiak is going to call a punter," Colquitt added in answering a question about a tweet. "He might be calling Peyton [Manning] and say, 'Hey, come out of retirement.' But I'm excited that he's here, and he brings a lot to the table so that's exciting for the organization."

The punter is slated to be the Vikings fourth player at that position in as many seasons, following Jeff Locke (2016), Ryan Quigley (2017) and Matt Wile (2018). Wile was released Sunday to make room for Colquitt on the roster.

Colquitt said he isn't concerned with the recent roster turnover, or with the notion that specialists have struggled upon arriving in Minnesota.

"It makes me excited. I feel confident because I've done it and this is my 10th year. I feel confident in that, and I'm not worried about that," Colquitt said. "I don't feel like there's a curse … there just hasn't been a good mesh. I think there's been talent, because I think Wile and Quigley have been really good punters.

"But it's a whole thing, it's a room. It takes the long snapper, the holder/punter and the kicker and the coaches. It's a big thing," Colquitt added. "We're kind of like golfers and are more sensitive sometimes than the big, meaty football players. It's a whole chemistry deal. I'm not worried about that. I'm excited about that because this city deserves a great punter and holder and great special teams. Why shouldn't we lead the league in all those categories and help our team win and help our team go as far as we can go?"

Like father, like son

The Vikings acquired Mark Fields on Saturday in a trade with Kansas City, but the cornerback isn't the first person in his family to play for Zimmer.

Fields' father, also named Mark, played for Zimmer at Washington State. Although Zimmer left in 1994 to jump to the NFL, Fields went onto win Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors that season.

Zimmer said the Vikings had their eye on the younger Fields coming out of the draft, but he chose to sign with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent.

"We knew about him when he came out. He was a guy that we actually tried to sign after the draft," Zimmer said. "His dad played for me in college, and his dad was a great player and a good guy. That didn't have anything to do with it, but I did know him. It means I'm getting old."

Although Fields is new to Minnesota, he said he's excited to jump headfirst into Week 1 with a new team.

"It felt great. I was leaving a great organization in Kansas City but my opportunity here is great," Fields said. "I'm just looking to take advantage of it."

"I'm going to come in and obviously learn the playbook and just whatever the coaches ask me to do," Fields added.

Fields is entering his first season in the NFL after playing in college at Clemson. He played in each of Kansas City's four preseason games, registering 112 defensive snaps and 14 snaps on special teams.

Fields' father played nine seasons in the NFL as a linebacker for the Saints, Rams and Panthers. According to pro-football-reference.com, Fields recorded 755 total tackles to go along with five career interceptions, nine forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries.

The elder Fields missed the entire 2003 season after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. He returned for the 2004 season and played in the Pro Bowl, but he retired after learning the disease had returned.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster for the 2019 season.

The new guy

In the span of four days, Chase McLaughlin went from kicking against the Vikings to joining their practice squad. Minnesota announced the move Sunday.

McLaughlin made all three of his preseason field goal tries with Buffalo, and was also perfect on five extra points.

He hit a 54-yard field goal in Thursday's preseason finale against the Vikings.

"I told him today, I said, 'You know, you should have missed that field goal against us the other day,' " Zimmer said. "But yeah, I think he's a kid that has a chance to be a really good kicker in the league, so we're just trying to cover all our bases."

McLaughlin played collegiately at Illinois. He was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection and was the Bakken-Anderson Big Ten Kicker of the Year for the 2018 season.

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