Ravens’ Vedvik in spotlight at HoF Game
HUNTINGTON — Normally, NFL preseason games are about seeing a team’s new draft picks in the spotlight.
That might be a bit different Thursday night for the Baltimore Ravens when they play the Chicago Bears in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
Part of that Thursday spotlight in the preseason opener will belong to an undrafted kicker who is trying to make his name in one of the NFL’s most sturdy special teams units. That spotlight will belong to former Marshall University kicker Kaare Vedvik, who is expected to log plenty of work as both a placekicker and punter for the Ravens.
Originally, Baltimore special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg pursued Vedvik as a punter because that’s where he had impressed the most in camps. Rosburg shared earlier this week with media members covering the team, however, that Vedvik has the ability to perform as both a punter and placekicker on the NFL level.
On Thursday night, Vedvik gets that chance in both capacities.
“He’s demonstrated to us that the talent he has can be used on the punt team and the field goal team,” Rosburg said in a video shot by The Baltimore Sun newspaper’s Amy Davis.
“The exciting thing for Kaare — and for all of us, I think — is that we have an extra preseason game, so the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, where Kaare will be making his debut, he’s going to be doing both.”
During Tuesday’s practice, Vedvik nailed a 63-yard field goal attempt, which came after a connection from 51 yards and a miss from 60 yards.
Leg strength has never been in question for Vedvik, who showed that off during his Pro Day workouts at Marshall in March.
Vedvik showed off his leg as a placekicker, booting a pair of 60-yard field goals and missing a pair of 65-yarders to the left (they had distance) at the Chris Cline Indoor Athletic Complex. Then, he went out to Joan C. Edwards Stadium on a cold, blustery day in Huntington and proved to 15 NFL scouts that he could punt in the elements.
Baltimore signed Vedvik even though the Ravens have one of the more dynamic special teams units in the NFL with kicker Justin Tucker and 13-year veteran punter Sam Koch, who has also been among the league’s most consistent throughout his career.
Many players would’ve seen the competition as a drawback because of both positions being well solidified. However, Vedvik saw it as an opportunity to learn from the best — something Rosburg noted.
“Kaare is taking advantage of all the coaching he’s getting from Randy Brown and the rest of the specialists,” Rosburg said. “He’s a guy that, when we brought him in here, we knew he was an extraordinary talent. He did a lot of things for his team at Marshall.”
While Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh alluded to a kicking competition earlier in preseason camp, the likelihood is Vedvik will not unseat Tucker, one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history as the team’s placekicker.
Vedvik’s most likely chance to stay with the Ravens is by outperforming Koch, which will be no easy task, either.
With veterans at both positions, there is a good chance that Vedvik ends up cut when rosters are trimmed to the regular-season limit.
That means that, whether for the Ravens or another NFL team, each preseason game Vedvik competes in is an audition for his NFL future.
HALL OF FAME GAME
Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears
WHERE: At Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday