Lets take a look at our Special teams:
The Vikings Have made it a point to upgrade an unbeliveably horrible special teams unit. First they signed a new coach, and that will make probably the biggest difference. As Hayes was never successful.
Te Vikings then made a nice bid to Chicago Kicker Paul Edinger but came up short. The Vikings then signed a young talent in Aaron Eling to compete with Hyden Epstein and Possibly Gary Anderson for the Starting Palce kicker spot. What will make the biggest difference in this year's kicking game is our blocking. To improve that the Vikings have Signed Mike Rosenthal. Rosenthal weighs in at 315lbs, and should help with the blocking assignments. Add him to a healthy Lewis Kelly, Bryant Mckennie, David Dixon, Corbina Lacina and Everet Lindsay, I say the blocing on Feild Goals should improve a lot. While Kyle Richardson is exactly what the Vikes are looking for, he can still come in and fill that whole again should the Vikings decide they will get a Feild Goal kicker who can kickoff as well.
Next is our return game. The Vikings had many kick returners last season and most of them just couldn't handle the ball. In addition to Cederic James, Moe Williams and D'wayne Bates the Vikings have signed John Avery and drafted Onterrio Smith, both are special return men. Given that, I think the Vikes might be able to Rely on a few Kickoff Returns going all the way and maybe even a Punt Reurn or 2.
Defending Kickoff reurns have a problem ever since the first game in 2001. This year the Vikings Went our and got Chris Claiborne as a LB. This means we can put Roanall Smith in on Special teams and not worry so much about him. Smith has good speed and is a good tackler and should helkp out on Special teams and on defense when he relieves Henri Crockett. The Vikings Also Brought along Nick Rodgers, who will now see his focus switched to special teams as well. Those 2 tacklers, along with Crish Walsh and Russel Williams, and possibly Jack Brewer should mean a couple less returns for big gains. The Vikings, however weren't statisfied, so with the 40th over pick in this years draft the got E.J. Henderson. Henderson will probably see some special teams play and it will be a good way for him to get used to the speed of the game. He is also a good tackler. I will be a little less nervous now when the Vikings go to kickoff.
Blocking Feild Goals/Punts is an area were Coach Mike Tice said he wants to try improve. Now that Fred Robbins doesn't have to play on Defense everydown he can consentrate on pushing some linemen back and allowing some faster guys to get in there on Special Teams. Tice also selected Kevin Williams who should be able to get in there and try to mov people around making it easier to get through. Add that to Chris Hovan and other teams might wanbt to put an extra guy in the middle. Look for guys like Smith and rodgers to block a kick or 2, and if not at least make a hazordous work environment for the Kicker.
I think the Vikings have made great strides so far in improving our special teams. It may not be the best in the league next year, but I think there will be a big improvement.