Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Forbath, Carlson Embracing Kicking Competition in OTAs

EAGAN, Minn. — Kai Forbath is no stranger to pressure situations in the NFL, while Daniel Carlson is a fresh-faced rookie who has been in town for about a month. 

By the time Minnesota's season opener rolls around in a little over three months, one of them will be the Vikings kicker for the 2018 season. 

The kicking competition between Forbath and Carlson got underway last week as Organized Team Activity practices began. The battle continued this week and will likely stretch late into the preseason.

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer was asked Wednesday what his timeline is on selecting the kicker.

"Before we play San Francisco {in Week 1," Priefer said. "I think that would probably be the best date. No, probably the week before, maybe.

"I don't want to rush the process. I think we need to do what is best for our football team, whether that is at the end of spring or end of training camp," Preifer added. "I don't make that final decision. At the end of the day, we will make the right one and hopefully the kicker that we keep will help us win a lot of games this year."

Forbath has spent the past 23 games with the Vikings, joining the team in the middle of the 2016 season. He has made 47 of 53 field goals (88.7 percent) during that span, not including a clutch 53-yarder that gave the Vikings a late lead in the Divisional playoff game against New Orleans.

The former UCLA standout knows all about competitions, having won one in 2017 when he beat out Marshall Koehn.

"I'm still here and competing. That's what I've always done," Forbath said last week. "I've fortunately never lost a competition.

"I'm not shying away from this one just because they drafted him," Forbath said. "I'm going to make my kicks."

Carlson, meanwhile, was a 2018 fifth-round pick out of Auburn, where he holds 14 school records. He made 92 of 114 field goals (80.7 percent) with a long of 56 yards.

After Wednesday's OTA practice, he called being in the NFL "a dream come true."

"Rookie kickers are usually seen as immature guys because they don't have that experience, but luckily I got to play in a lot of big college games and I try to be mature beyond my years," Carlson said.

In the two OTA sessions open to the media, each kicker has had nine field goal attempts. 

Carlson has hit all of them, including a 46-yarder during a drill Wednesday as the final seconds ticked down on the clock. 

"Those pressure situations are where any kicker should thrive," Carlson said. "Especially in the NFL, there are a lot of close games, so every point matters.

"That's when I try and be at my best — those last-minute situations and high-pressure situations," Carlson added. "It takes a lot of focus and hard work so you can perform well in those situations."

Forbath has made six of his nine attempts. He made three of four kicks in each team session over two practices, and was unsuccessful on his last-second try in Wednesday's drill. 

"We have been charting these guys for the last few weeks competing against each other ever since Daniel [Carlson] arrived back the week after rookie minicamp was over," Priefer said. "We try to put them in competitive situations as much as we can to get them ready for the preseason games and ultimately the decision going into the regular season."

Despite the kickers vying for one job, both players said they have plenty of respect and admiration for the other.

"I've become friends that I've competed against every year," Forbath said. "I still talk to Marshall from last year … we're still friends.

"I used to be the young guy competing against the old guy, and now I'm the older guy," Forbath added. "I help them out and give them tips. We're all friends at the end of the day."

Added Carlson: "He's helped me a lot. He's done a great job of showing me the ropes and working with me on field goals and kickoffs. He's been a true professional and has been pushing me as well. I think it will be beneficial to the team and beneficial for both of us."

Time will tell which player joins the specialist group along with punter Ryan Quigley and long snapper Ryan Quigley.

But both players know there is still plenty of time for evaluation until the decision needs to be made. 

"We help each other and wish the best for each other," Carlson said. "But at the end of the day, we both want to be the starting kicker and kick for the Vikings. We're just going to keep competing."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.