EAGAN, Minn. -- When the Vikings were considering trading for Kaare Vedvik, head coach Mike Zimmer put in a call to Jerry Rosburg.
The two had gotten to know each other in 2007, when Rosburg was special teams coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons and Zimmer the defensive coordinator. Rosburg, a native of Fairmont, Minn., went on to serve as special teams coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens from 2008-18 before retiring last March and becoming a consultant with the team.
The Vikings last Sunday, Aug. 11, dealt a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Ravens for Vedvik, a kicker and punter. He will make his debut for them Sunday night against Seattle at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings haven’t decided whether the native of Norway is better suited to kick or punt. That was one of the questions Zimmer asked Rosburg.
“I told him about his work ethic and I told him about his dual abilities,’’ Rosburg said. “He asked if he was better at this or that? I said he’s an NFL talent. … I think he’s got everything it takes. … He is whatever you need him to be and whatever he works on the most.’’
Rosburg first met Vedvik at a workout at Marshall before the 2018 NFL draft. Vedvik had been the Thundering Herd’s punter as a junior in 2016 before doing double duty as a senior.
After being undrafted, Vedvik signed with the Ravens. He played in all five preseason games in 2018, going 8 of 9 on field-goal attempts and averaging 46.8 yards gross and 40.0 net on 19 punts.
Vedvik was on the non-football injury list during the regular season after being the victim of an assault. He returned to the Ravens this year, and in their Aug. 8 preseason opener against Jacksonville made all four of his field-goal attempts, including a 55-yarder, and punted twice for an average 55.5 yards gross and 48.0 net.
“Initially, I considered him an NFL punter because he demonstrated more skills as a punter than he did as a placekicker,’’ Rosburg said. “Upon his arrival, we had him doing both and Randy Brown, our kicking coach at the time who is now assistant special teams coach for the Ravens, he thought he was developing faster at placekicker than he was at punter on an NFL level. … He really surpassed the expectations with the placekicking skills he developed quicker there.’’
Vedvik is battling incumbents Dan Bailey at kicker and Matt Wile at punter for a roster spot. He has shown off his big leg in Minnesota practices with booming punts and kickoffs and has kicked 60 and 62-yard field goals off a tee.
One issue in the competition is that Zimmer has been outspoken about Wile needing to be a better holder. He has used various holding candidates in practices since the start of training camp.
Wide receiver Chad Beebe got plenty of holding work over the past week since Wile suffered a cut left thumb on a sideline kicking device during the Aug. 9 preseason opener at New Orleans. Wile, with stitches in his thumb, was then unable to hold in practice, and it remains to be seen if he will do so against the Seahawks.
If Vedvik becomes Minnesota’s punter, he might be called upon to hold. Rosburg said he would be up to the task.
“He’s good,’’ Rosburg said. “As you know, European athletes don’t use their hands as much as American athletes because in soccer it’s illegal. … Kaare never played a game that he used his hands on a regular basis, but we taught him how we hold and he developed rapidly and he worked hard at it. … I’m confident he’d do well if he is the holder.’’
The Vikings have three preseason games left for decisions to be made. Vedvik is expected to be used in a variety of roles.