How often have we seen this? No matter what you call it, the Wildcat formation is always called the Wildcat when other teams do it. The Vikings incorporated it using Joe Webb in the Blazer formation and most of the NFL has a variant of it after Miami caught New England with its pants down and made them look foolish.
When New England devised an offensive scheme that incorporated two athletic tight ends on the field at the same time, other teams (including the Vikings) have looked to incorporate it into their own offense. While it can be argued that, to date, the John Carlson Experiment has been an unqualified failure, the Vikings were jumping on the bandwagon.
The latest trend that has begun to emerge is a newfound importance surrounding young, strong-legged kickers to take advantage of the decision to move the kickoff line from the 30- to the 35-yard line. At first, it was thought that the move might help kickers who were nearing the end of their career, but that thought was quickly replaced by the need to add young kickers that can launch kickoffs out of the end zone.
Three teams added rookie kickers this season – the Vikings, St. Louis and Baltimore. In Thursday's game with Cleveland, Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker missed a 47-yard field goal. It was the first missed field goal for any of the three of them. Tucker has made 8 of 9 field goals, Blair Walsh is 7-for-7 and Greg Zuerlein of the Rams is 8-for-8. Between the three of them, they have combined to make 23 of 24 career field goals.
Given the repetitive nature of the NFL, with the success the three rookie kickers have had, it may be time for aging veterans like Jason Hanson, Phil Dawson, Adam Vinatieri and David Akers to be put on notice. In a league defined by teams starting trends and others copying them, the days of the multi-million-dollar kickers may be numbered.
Ryan Longwell had job security prior to draft weekend. As the Vikings head to Detroit today for their game with the Lions, Longwell has a tee time.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.