It had to be hard for the Vikings to release rookie free agent placekicker Steven Hauschka on Saturday, but with veteran Ryan Longwell still at the top of his game, the incumbent almost always gets the nod when it comes to kickers. But it was no surprise that Hauschka was claimed on waivers on Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens, who also have veteran Matt Stover at this point.
It’s not clear if he will replace Stover or be used as a kickoff specialist at this point, but Hauschka impressed the Ravens’ coaching staff first-hand when they faced the Vikings in Week 2 of the preseason.
Hauschka handled all the kicking duties in that game and was 3-for-3 of field goal attempts (including a long of 48 yards), 2-for-2 on extra points and averaged 69.0 yards on 5 kickoffs (the 1-yard line). Overall, Hauschka was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals, 4-for-4 on extra points, and did a solid job on 10 kickoff opportunities, consistently putting the ball well inside the 5-yard-line.
While Longwell would have had to lose the job in training camp with the Vikings this summer, Hauschka got a lot of exposure as the team utilized him primarily to save some wear and tear on the veteran’s leg.
It appears things have worked out for Hauschka in the near term. It will be interesting to track his progress with Baltimore in comparison to Longwell in the future.