The Green Bay Packers brought in competition for longtime kicker Mason Crosby this summer, claiming Sam Ficken off waivers. This is the first time that Crosby has faced competition in training camp since 2013, when he fought off Georgio Tavecchio to win the job, leading to the best season of his career.
However, there are signs that the Packers are not yet satisfied with their place-kickers. Over the weekend, the Baltimore Ravens traded kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik to the Minnesota Vikings, reportedly in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. However, the Packers were reportedly one of three other teams that were in contact with the Ravens about Vedvik, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Tomasson phrased his reporting as these teams “wanted to trade for” Vedvik, suggesting that general manager Brian Gutekunst was interested enough in Vedvik to give up a late-round draft pick — though he was seemingly out-bid by Vikings GM Rick Spielman.
Predictably, the Chicago Bears were in that group as well, along with the Packers and the New York Jets.
Vedvik is a Norwegian native who moved to the United States as an exchange student in high school. He played college football at Marshall, where he went 10 of 16 on field goals and 41-for-42 on PATs in his one season as the Thundering Herd’s place-kicker, where he also punted for two seasons. However, he spent the 2018 season on the NFI list following an assault in Baltimore just before the NFL’s final cut-down date.
The Packers’ front office has a strong connection to the Ravens through Milt Hendrickson, their new Director — Football Operations. Hendrickson was employed in Baltimore for the last several years and would have had a first-hand look at Vedvik during his rookie offseason in 2018.
If the Packers are indeed looking around at other kickers, it does not bode well for Ficken, who kicked a pair of PATs in the Packers’ preseason opener last Thursday. Furthermore, it would seem to indicate a continued interest in moving on from Crosby this offseason, as the veteran carries a $4.85 million salary cap hit in 2019. It is plausible that the Packers could be on the lookout for kickers on the waiver wire following final cuts this year if Crosby and Ficken fail to impress significantly in training camp.