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NOTEBOOK: Carlson Confident After Winning Vikings Kicking Battle

EAGAN, Minn. — Daniel Carlson will be the Vikings kicker in Week 1 of the 2018 season.

The team essentially made a decision on its kicker battle Monday by releasing Kai Forbath, giving all indications the Carlson will be the main man this season.

The rookie is ready for the attention.

“I don’t think I’m going to change anything. I’m going to come to practice and compete against myself every day,” Carlson said. “I think now it’s good to kind of have a little assurance and confidence from the coaching staff and everybody with the Vikings organization, that they trust in me, and I’m going to go out every day and prove them right.

“You want to be on a winning team, and I came into a situation where, with what they did last season, I’m just going to take that and run with it – do my job one day at a time and hopefully be a part of that success,” Carlson added about embracing expectations. “As a kicker, I hope I get lots of extra points, and when we get some big field goals, I’ll be ready.”

The Vikings spent a fifth-round pick on Carlson, trading up to draft the Auburn product who hit 23 of 31 field goals in his senior season.

Carlson has been impressive so far in the preseason, making all five of his extra points and both field goal tries, including a 57-yard attempt in Denver.

“I think that’s a first step, and I’m going to take it one game at a time and one kick at a time,” Carlson said of his success so far. “Each game I’m hoping to get better and better and more comfortable in the NFL experience, but at the end of the day I’m going to take it every kick, whether it’s preseason or regular season, even in practice, take those serious and do my best to help this team in every situation.”

Carlson handled field goals and extra points in the preseason opener while Forbath was on kickoff duty. The pair switched for Saturday’s preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium, although Carlson did attempt an extra point.

And even though Forbath missed a 41-yard try against the Jaguars, Carlson said he expected the roster battle to go down to the wire.

“It came as bit of a surprise this morning,” Carlson said. “Obviously Kai’s given me a run for my money, and he’s had a lot of success here and elsewhere, so it was a great competition versus him and I was able to learn a few things from someone who has a lot more experience than I do in the NFL.

“I met with him after I had heard the news and obviously after he had heard the news, and we talked, and he was great about it,” Carlson said. “Wish him nothing but the best but excited to be sticking around here and get ready for the real work.”

Forbath, who had been with the Vikings since November of 2016, made 47 of his 53 career field goals with Minnesota. He was 45 on 53 extra points during that time.

Carlson praised the veteran for his guidance in helping the rookie transition to the NFL.

“There’s a lot of things, just the ins and outs of the NFL,” Carlson said of Forbath’s advice. “Being a kicker’s a different job for a lot of reasons, so he did a great job of giving me tips here and there.

“From experience of things he’s learned over the years, just on both sides. He’s been cut, he’s had other guys cut that he competed against,” Carlson added. “He did a great job of navigating me through this, and along the way, obviously, we were also able to talk a lot of football and just working on different technical things while we were also competing.”

Newman at nickel

Terence Newman is the oldest defensive player in the NFL, but might be the most versatile defensive back on the Vikings roster.

The 39-year-old Newman, a first-round draft pick in 2003, can play outside cornerback, safety or at slot cornerback in Minnesota’s defense.

It’s the latter position where Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Newman could get more action going forward.

Zimmer said that with cornerback Mackensie Alexander nursing an injury from Saturday, the Vikings could put the 16-year veteran inside at the nickel spot on more plays.

“We’ve been taking care of him with a lot of things, but he’ll probably get a little bit more work at the nickel this week,” Zimmer said.

Welcome back, Kobe

The Vikings added fullback Kobe McCrary to the roster on Monday, two days after fullback Johnny Stanton was injured in a preseason game against Jacksonville.

McCrary spent rookie minicamp with the Vikings in early May, but was released after the weekend was over.

The 24-year-old said he has been hard at work — on and off the field — since being let go by Minnesota.

“I actually went back home and got a job working 10 hours a day,” McCrary said. “After I’d get off about 3:30 p.m., I’d rest about an hour and then go work out and do some stuff by myself.”

McCrary said he was filling bed comforters with cotton as his day job.

McCrary spent the past two seasons playing for the University of Minnesota, where he rushed for 738 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons with the Gophers. He led the team with 5.3 yards per carry as a senior.

“I love the city of Minneapolis,” said McCrary, who was in Florida when the Vikings called. “It’s a good feeling to come back.”

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