Vikings seek to strike gold again with rookies on special teams

  • by: Mark Craig , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 31, 2013 - 6:16 PM

Rick Gosselin, longtime NFL reporter for the Dallas Morning News, has been ranking the league’s special teams units for the past 33 years. Guess which Purple-clad squad was most special a year ago? ¶ No, it wasn’t the Super Bowl champion Ravens. It was the Vikings. ¶ Gosselin assigns points to teams based on where they stand in 22 objective categories. And according to Gosselin, the Vikings “booted the most field goals, committed the fewest turnovers and allowed the fewest points” on special teams a year ago. ¶ Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer returns for his third season in Minnesota. He’ll have many of the same unusually talented players to work with, such as defensive end Everson Griffen, a 6-3, 273-pounder with 4.6 speed. But he’ll also be introducing new faces in critical places, such as rookies Jeff Locke at punter and Cordarrelle Patterson at kick returner. ¶ Here’s a closer look at those two players, as well as All-Pro kicker Blair Walsh, the headliner in Gosselin’s defending champion special teams units.

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Philadelphia - A. Harang 12:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Atlanta - A. Wood 12:07 PM
Toronto - R. Dickey
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 12:08 PM
Detroit - A. Sanchez
Cleveland - D. Salazar 1:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Cincinnati - H. Bailey 1:15 PM
St. Louis - C. Martinez
San Diego - T. Ross 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Baltimore - C. Tillman 3:05 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Miami - M. Latos 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
LA Angels - C. Wilson 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
NY Yankees - M. Tanaka 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Oakland - J. Hahn 6:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Arizona - R. De La Rosa 8:05 PM
San Francisco - C. Heston
Colorado - J. Lyles 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Texas - C. Lewis 8:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Washington 11:30 AM
Toronto
New Orleans 2:30 PM
Golden State
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Chicago
Dallas 8:30 PM
Houston
Minnesota 2:00 PM
St. Louis
Detroit 2:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
NY Rangers
Winnipeg 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Houston 6:00 PM
D.C.
Orlando City 6:30 PM
Columbus
Toronto FC 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Seattle 8:00 PM
Colorado
Vancouver FC 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Sporting Kansas City 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
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Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
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Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
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Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
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