Kai Forbath didn’t know until roster cutdown day, which was his 30th birthday, that the Vikings had chosen him to be their kicker.
It’s better than finding out you were getting cut two days after being told you won the job. That’s how the Saints showed Forbath the door last year, cutting him because they were going to sign an undrafted rookie after an impressive tryout. Now Forbath has outlasted more rookie competition in Marshall Koehn, whom the Vikings cut last week, to face his former team Monday night with New Orleans in town.
“Until the last day, I didn’t know,” Forbath said. “I knew I was going to have either a really good birthday or a really bad birthday.”
The Minneapolis sushi feast that Saturday with long snapper Kevin McDermott and punter Ryan Quigley made for a good birthday. So now the kicker, who has converted 86.6 percent of his career attempts, can push to establish credibility with the coaching staff, hoping to find a home on his third team in his sixth NFL season.
Forbath and Koehn were in a tight race, but Koehn’s missed extra point in the preseason ultimately pushed the competition in the veteran’s favor.
“We felt like Kai hit the ball more consistent,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “He was going to be the more consistent performer for us. Hopefully he can do that and be a good kickoff guy for us.”
Forbath didn’t harbor any ill will toward the Saints, only saying he was thankful the apartment complex he’d just signed a lease with let him out after his surprise release from New Orleans.
“I don’t know all the reasons things happen with teams,” Forbath said. “I like it here, and hopefully I’ll make it last a while.”
Boone ‘out of shape’?
Former Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway said Friday on KFAN that he’d heard from “some players” on the team that guard Alex Boone was cut because he was “a little bit out of shape and wasn’t really prepared for the season.”
Boone, 30, will earn $3.4 million from the Vikings in guaranteed salary this season while playing on a one-year deal he recently signed with the Cardinals. Coach Mike Zimmer has only indicated Boone wasn’t one of the best players when asked why he was released.
“I don’t know,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know that Chad was in any of the meetings or the other players when we talked about the cut to 53.”
The Vikings might not have an All-Pro kick returner in 2017 like they’ve grown accustomed to, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to limit Jerick McKinnon’s chances to score.
Cordarrelle Patterson and, before him, Percy Harvin were often given the green light to return kicks from however deep — 109 yards away at times — they were in the end zone. The aggression will continue with an “explosive runner” in McKinnon, according to Priefer.
“[McKinnon] has got great vision. He probably has better vision than most of the other guys I’ve coached here, because he’s got that running back mentality,” Priefer said. “So we’re going to continue to be aggressive.”
All Vikings on the active roster practiced Friday, the penultimate practice before Monday’s season opener. Guard Danny Isidora (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis. Also limited were defensive end Brian Robison (groin) and cornerback Tramaine Brock (groin).
For the Saints, left tackle Terron Armstead (shoulder), defensive end Trey Hendrickson (illness) and linebacker Nate Stupar (hamstring) did not practice.
Saints long snapper Jon Dorenbos needs heart surgery to correct an aortic aneurysm, the team announced Friday.