Kaare Vedvik: Baltimore, Minnesota, New York
A brutal end to Kaare Vedvik’s short NFL career
Jo Christian Weldingh
Kaare Vedvik from Stavanger missed his chance to be a part of the New York Jets 2019-2020 roster. On Sept. 10, the Jets confirmed that the Norwegian kicker won’t be a part of their squad after all. The club said that they had decided to sign Sam Ficken instead and terminated Vedvik’s contract after just one official game.
Vedvik, the first Norwegian to play an official NFL game since 2001, was heavily criticized after missing an extra point and a 45-yard field goal attempt in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills. The Jets lost the game, 17-16.
It should be noted that strong winds in MetLife Stadium in New Jersey made the conditions extra difficult that Sunday, but Buffalo kicker, eight-year veteran Stephen Hauschka, converted his only field goal attempt and both his extra points. The U.S. men’s national soccer team’s game with Mexico earlier in the week prevented Vedvik from getting practice time.
One expert went so far as to say that Vedvik might as well buy a bus ticket back home. As it turns out, he might have been right.
“It sucked,” Vedvik said, when asked to sum up his own performance.
It also capped a wild three weeks in which Vedvik was on three teams.
Vedvik, who had great success playing college football for the Marshall Thundering Herd, was part of the Baltimore Ravens squad in the 2018 preseason and played his first exhibition game in August 2018. The day before the official 2018-19 squad was revealed, he was attacked and robbed on the streets of Baltimore and ended up injured for the rest of the season, suffering from serious head injuries.
This summer, however, several NFL teams coveted Vedvik after an impressive preseason. He hit all four of his kicks in a pre-season game, including a 55-yard field goal for Baltimore. However, the Ravens have seven-year veteran Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history. The Ravens even said they hoped Vedvik would do well so they could trade him. On Aug. 11, they dealt him to the Minnesota Vikings.
With the Norwegian connection and Vedvik’s ability as a kicker and punter, there was a lot of excitement in Minneapolis around Vedvik. It’s been years since one player handled both duties for a team, especially since the punter usually holds the ball on extra point and field goal attempts. But after weak performances in two exhibition games, on NFL cut down day on Aug. 31, when teams had to reduce rosters to 53 players, the Vikings changed their minds, and decided to cut him and go with veteran Dan Bailey, who has hit 86% of his field goal attempts in his eight-year career.
As late as Sept. 1, a week before their season opener, the New York Jets were having big problems with their special teams. Their original first choice, Chandler Catanzaro, chose to retire earlier this year after a bad exhibition game, and his replacement, Taylor Bertolet, was also struggling with his performance on the field. On Sept. 1, they decided to give Vedvik a chance and cut Bertolet. The job was Vedvik’s.
Vedvik was beyond excited when he got his surprising chance with the Jets.
“This is what you’ve been working for this whole time,” he told the media. “I’m beyond excited, get to go in here and be the starting kicker for the Jets. It’s great.”
The NFL can be brutal, both on and off the field. After Vedvik’s disastrous first game, coach Adam Gase told the press that he didn’t know what to do about the team’s kicker situation, only two days later it was confirmed that Sam Ficken was in and Vedvik was out.
Vedvik has been dropped by three different teams in less than a month and might find it difficult to convince a fourth team to give him a chance.
See Kaare Vedvik’s NFL profile at www.nfl.com/player/kaarevedvik/2561415/profile.
This article originally appeared in the October 4, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.