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Carlson Handles FGs, Forbath Takes Kickoffs to Open Preseason

DENVER – It wasn't a 60-plus-yarder, but it was pretty close.

Daniel Carlson said recently that he wouldn't mind taking a shot at a long field goal in his NFL debut, and he got the chance against the Broncos Saturday night in a 42-28 Vikings victory.

With just under six minutes remaining in the third quarter and the Vikings leading 24-14, Carlson lined up from 57 yards out, kicked and sent the ball sailing through the uprights.

"It was fun," Carlson told media members following the game. "We weren't sure whether we were going to punt it, based on the game, but [Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer] was asking if we could kick it and we told him, 'Let's go for it.'

"He sent me out there and put some trust in me, and I was able to knock it through," Carlson said. "It was fun to have an opportunity like that and help the team in that way."

The field goal marked the second-longest in Vikings preseason history, coming in one yard short of Marshall Koehn's 58-yarder against the 49ers last August.

Interestingly enough, however, the 57-yard field goal isn't the one of Carlson's two kicks that will be the most memorable. He told former Vikings punter Greg Coleman that it was his first attempt, not the longest one, that he expects to stick with him.

"The first field goal was a 39-yarder going into the wind, and the wind was kind of playing some games out in the stadium," Carlson said. "It's been a while since I've been in a stadium where the winds swirl quite like that, but it was just a really clean hit, drove it through the wind.

"Overall, I just felt smooth and consistent, just the player I've got to be," he added.

Carlson, whom the Vikings selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, has spoken several times about embracing big moments in games, and he certainly did so in front of a "home" crowd about 70 miles from his hometown of Colorado Springs.

The former Auburn standout had lots of friends and family in the stands of Broncos Stadium at Mile High, and he called it a "dream come true."

"I've worked for a long time to get to this moment right now, and to get to do it in my home state and have all of my friends and family here and have a performance like I did where I made all of my kicks, it was a perfect way," Carlson said.

He also emphasized that emotions and nerves felt leading up to the big moment were just "part of the game."

"You're going to have a little butterflies and can kind of let that fuel you and enjoy it," Carlson said. "It just makes the game so much more special. I had a lot of fun out there tonight."

Carlson's field goals were the only ones of the night, and he also went 4-of-4 on extra point attempts.

Kai Forbath, who joined the Vikings in 2016 and has been competing with Carlson throughout the spring and summer, handled Minnesota's kickoff duties for the evening.

Forbath kicked off eight times, six of which were touchbacks.

"It was good to get a bunch of reps. I'd say 90 percent of them were what I was looking for," Forbath said. "I didn't try to over-swing when I was getting tired, but I'm just getting back in the swing of staying ready for a whole game."

Forbath explained that Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer had told the kickers how responsibilities would be divvied up for Preseason 1.

"It was a great day for Daniel. I'm happy for him," Forbath said. "That was the whole plan. He was doing field goals today. I was doing kickoffs."

Forbath and Carlson will have three more chances in preseason games – the next one against the Jaguars at U.S. Bank Stadium – to make a case for themselves.

Carlson said it's a "tricky" situation with the knowledge that the Vikings will keep just one kicker for the regular season.

"It is a competition, but at the same time, we're two kickers that understand each other and what we're both going through and can help each other," Carlson said. "He's done a great job, obviously is a few years ahead of me and has some experience in games. It's been a great joy to work with him and push each other to be the best we can be."

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