A week ago the Vikings said there would be a “punt-off” for the punting roster spot. Two days ago the Vikings cut Jordan Berry, scrapping the punt competition and handing the job to 6-foot-3, 245-pound rookie Ryan Wright.
Hasty decision? Well, based on the bombs launched off Wright’s right foot during Minnesota’s preseason game in Denver Saturday night, not exactly. Wright was arguably the most popular player in yet another rather boring exhibition.
In the second half, Wright sent a rocket off his foot that was downed at the Denver 2-yard-line. That’s fine and dandy at first glance, but becomes shockingly awesome when you find out that the ball hit his foot at his own 19-yard-line. That’s a 79-yard bomb, though he’s only credited with a 68-yard punt because all the yards behind the line of scrimmage don’t count.
Wright later blasted a 71-yard punt that went for a touchback, so he was only credited with a 51-yarder. In short, when he kicks from his own 20 he’s a threat to launch it about 80 yards. That would make Mitch Berger and the Snicker bar in his shoe jealous (that’s a 1998 bit for those of you who don’t know).
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Pat McAfee, the longtime NFL punter who is now one of the most popular sports talk show hosts in the world, referred to Wright as a “stallion.”
Wright also had a 38-yarder that he dropped inside the 10. As of this writing the game was still in progress, but Wright had four punts on the night for a net average of 56.3 yards, including three of four inside the 20.