“It takes a little time for those guys to get their rhythm back, especially if they’re not together [for a while],” Maalouf said. “When he finished OTAs, they were doing really well. I think a lot of you guys were at [spring] practice. Yesterday was day one. We’ve got two long snappers, so we’ve got to get used to a couple of different things. It wasn’t all on Dan. We’ve got to clean up the operation. It’s just so early, so ask me again in a week, and I’ll hopefully have a more detailed answer for you.”
Maalouf said he’s previously approached dividing preseason game reps for long snappers in various ways, and it could depend on how many kicks are attempted within a game.
In the meantime, holder Matt Wile and Bailey will continue to work on the timing with each snapper.
“No two pitchers pitch the same, you know what I mean? It’s almost the same thing,” Maalouf said. “That ball can come different ways, slight angles mean a ton, especially for the holder and kicker. You’d be surprised. There’s a lot of differences. There are just very small details, and those are the things we’ll keep looking for. Tempo is huge; building the tempo for the kicker, the holder and the whole thing is what makes a good field goal kicker. All of the great ones have tempo to the ball.”
The Vikings worked on punt return near the start of Friday’s practice. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, along with Mike Hughes, who is rehabbing a torn ACL, stood near a group of players cycling through reps.
Chad Beebe, Ameer Abdullah, Craig James, Bisi Johnson, Dillon Mitchell, Davion Davis, De’Angelo Henderson, Duke Thomas and Jordan Taylor all had opportunities. It wasn’t part of the plan, but even guard Josh Kline fielded one cleanly.
“We’ve got to find more returners,” Maalouf said. “There’s a couple of guys we’re thinking about, but to me, you can’t ever have enough.”
Maalouf said he would like to have a variety of punt returners “that are good at different things, because then we can use them in different situations, and I think that keeps opponents guessing.”
“They’ve got to prepare. I know when I game-plan against a punt return unit and they have multiple returners, you have to be ready for that. One guy may be good at something, so you’ve got to get the guys tuned in to what makes that guy so special, and now you might have to cover differently.”