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Forbath Familiar with Faces, Replacement Scenarios

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Kai Forbath has done this before.

Forbath joined Washington in Week 6 of the 2012 season as a free agent, the kicker's first year on the field in the NFL, and promptly made 17 straight field goals to set an NFL record that has been tied.

Forbath, whom the Vikings signed Wednesday, said he hopes to contribute right away in Minnesota.

"This isn't my first time coming in and replacing someone," Forbath said. "It's also nice having (punter) Jeff (Locke) and (long snapper) Kevin (McDermott) here, I've worked with them in the past.

"I'm feeling pretty confident going into it," he added.

Forbath has made 69 of 82 field goals (84.1 percent) and 124 of 127 extra points (97.6 percent) since October 2012. He was with the Redskins until October 2015 and finished last season with the Saints.

Forbath played 41 regular-season games for Washington and 10 games for New Orleans, who re-signed him this offseason but released him in September. 

"He has been accurate," said Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. "He has kicked before, and then he had a UCLA connection with the snapper and the holder."

Forbath and Locke took the field together for two seasons at UCLA (2009-10). McDermott, who first long snapped at UCLA in 2011, said there is already a bond between the three.

"The only thing is the lack of reps together. But that's kind of negated by the fact that this isn't someone who I'm meeting for the first time coming into the locker room," McDermott said. "I was at school with him for three years … I never snapped to him in a game but we would get reps all the time in practice when I was the backup snapper at UCLA.

"Then during the offseason, Jeff and Kai and I would get live reps together at UCLA," he added. "This is not going to be something where we're working out a brand new rapport from scratch." 

Forbath capped his college career in 2010. He made 85 of 101 (84.2 percent) field goals and 102 of 104 (98.1 percent) extra points for the Bruins and won the Lou Groza Award (nation's top kicker) for his 2009 season.

"He's accurate and he has a good leg," McDermott said. "We believe in his talents and we're excited to have him here."

Forbath was one of six kickers who worked out for the Vikings last week at Winter Park. The 29-year-old said he's been training at UCLA and staying on a relatively normal kicking schedule.

He and Locke worked out Wednesday at U.S. Bank Stadium, and Forbath gave rave reviews for the new venue.

"We went today. It was great, awesome stadium, loved the turf," Forbath said. "Me and Jeff got some work in; it was really good to get in there before the game this weekend.

"Every kicker wants indoors," he added. "You get nice turf, no wind. Fortunately, this team is indoors now."

The Vikings released kicker Blair Walsh on Tuesday, a decision that Zimmer said was tough.

"It was just something we felt like we needed to do, kind of move forward," Zimmer said. "We're all accountable for the things we have to get done, and I think we gave him a lot of opportunities.

"Although, Blair's a great kid, and it was hard to do," he added. "It's just part of the business."

All four players trained together in previous offseasons in Southern California.

"Blair is one of my best friends, and he will be for the rest of my life," McDermott said. "But this is a business, and it's not always a business that is kind.

"He's just an unbelievable guy, and I really have the utmost respect for him," he added.

Added Forbath: "I've known Blair since high school; we've gone to kicking camps (together). But I feel for him because I've been in the same situation, and I've learned the hard way that this is a tough business."


View images of Vikings new K Kai Forbath from his days with the New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins and at UCLA.


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