The Vikings Are Keeping an Eye on Special Teamers in the 2024 NFL Draft

Gotta Hear It: Vikings Quote of the Day -- March 15, 2022
Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings could certainly target a number of premium positions in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Quarterback seems to be on the top of everybody’s wish list heading into the event, and not far behind are positions like defensive tackle, edge rusher, and cornerback. However, there is another area that the Vikings have kept a close eye on this spring, and that comes via the special teams.

Could the Vikings Draft a Specialist?

Oct 7, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on from the sidelines before the game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Michigan Wolverines at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, we already know that Minnesota will feature a new kicker this season after Greg Joseph left in free agency, inking a new contract with the Green Bay Packers. For now, John Parker Romo, a former XFLer and practice squad member for multiple NFL teams, is slated to do the kicking in Minnesota.

It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see the Vikings bring in more competition at that position, though. Our own Kyle Joudry wrote on the topic back in March: “Any chance Minnesota opts to sink one of their Day 3 selections — currently, they’re the proud owner of seven Day 3 selections — into an upside kicker? Surely, they’re going to add competition for Romo at some point. Bringing in an UDFA would make sense but that’s an approach that flopped last offseason with the addition of Jack Podlesny.”

With that many Day 3 picks, it certainly would make sense to add a specialist at some point, but we also know that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is the king of draft day trades. Perhaps that number goes down as Minnesota attempts to bring in more quality selections.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Virginia Tech
Oct 9, 2021; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies place kicker John Parker Romo (96) makes a field goal from the hold of Virginia Tech Hokies punter Peter Moore (85) before the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings may also be interested in adding competition at the punter spot as well. Justin Melo of The Draft Network tweeted, “Punter Jake Walrath put on a show at @CMU_Football’s Pro Day! @Walrath83 averaged an impressive 43.2 yards per punt this season. Scouts from the #Vikings, #Jaguars, #Commanders & #Giants showed particular interest in Walrath, per sources.”

Walrath averaged 43.2 yards per punt this past season at Central Michigan, and his net yards per punt was 38.7, which ranked 63rd among 106 punters with at least 40 punts in 2023. He had 16 punts inside the 20 yard-line.

Of course, Ryan Wright has been with the Vikings for each of the past two seasons, and he was one of the best punters in the league during the 2022 season. Wright landed 32 of his 73 punts inside the 20-yard-line in 2022 and had just a single touchback.

2023, however, saw Wright boot just 17 of his 59 punts inside the 20 (a drop of 15%), and he had seven punts result as touchbacks. There could be a couple different reasons for this, but Wright certainly wasn’t as effective this past season. Don’t be surprised if Minnesota opts to bring in some punting competition this spring.

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings punter Ryan Wright (14) reacts after throwing an incomplete pass on fourth down during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Amongst many draft minds, Tory Taylor out of Iowa is expected to be the cream of the crop at the punting position this year. However, if a team were to take a chance on him before the Vikings get a chance to, perhaps Walrath could be another player to keep an eye on.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.