Baltimore Ravens kicker Kaare Vedvik (6) kicks a field goal against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football preseason game, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

HUNTINGTON — As an undrafted free agent out of Marshall, many thought it was odd when former Thundering Herd kicker Kaare Vedvik opted to sign with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL Draft.

On the surface, it was a bit of a head-scratcher with Baltimore already having Pro Bowl-caliber specialists in kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch.

However, Vedvik and his team saw Baltimore's history with grooming specialists behind Tucker and Koch - many of whom moved on to start in the NFL - as an opportunity. Names such as Will Lutz, Steven Hauschka, Graham Gano and Robbie Gould have all come through the Ravens' special teams room.

That opportunity paid off on Sunday when Vedvik was traded to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick - one of the highest picks for a kicker in a trade within the last 25 years.

In Minnesota, it is expected that Vedvik will be used as both a kicker and punter - much how he was utilized at Marshall.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the only trade involving a higher draft pick came in 1996 when Kansas City sent a fifth round pick in the 1997 draft to Miami for Pete Stoyanovich.

Sunday's trade is vindication for Vedvik, who was likely headed for a similar trade in 2018 before a brutal assault on the night before Cut Day left him with serious head and facial injuries that required multiple surgeries to fix.

On Sept. 1, Vedvik's attackers dropped him on a street in East Baltimore. Found at 4 a.m. that morning, Vedvik's injuries were significant and he spent the next five days in the hospital while requiring procedures and therapy over the next two months.

Instead of being traded on the day that NFL teams got down to their final 53-man roster for the season, Vedvik ended up on the Non-Football Injury list, which meant his 2018 season was over before it began.

Furthermore, many wondered if the mental toll of the injuries would keep Vedvik from regaining the form that made him a coveted trade piece for the Ravens.

On Thursday night - just over three weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of the assault, Vedvik definitively answered those questions surrounding him.

Vedvik finished 4-of-4 on field goal attempts with connections of 55, 45, 26 and 29 yards while hitting two punts for 53 and 58 yards respectively.

For Vedvik, it was an emotional return to game action, as he told BaltimoreRavens.com writer Ryan Mink.

"It's been a long year building up to come back to this moment again," Vedvik said to Mink. "I love football. I love sports. Getting back on the field, it's a different feeling."

As for Vedvik's new home in Minnesota, he is going to a team that is on the opposite end of the special teams spectrum from Baltimore.

Minnesota has struggled with special teams over the last few years and there is competition everywhere from longsnapper to now punter and kicker with Vedvik's inclusion.

The most notable error in the Vikings' special teams game was Blair Walsh's missed 27-yard field goal in the NFC Wild Card game.

Vedvik will battle with Dan Bailey, who signed with Minnesota in the early portion of the 2018 season after spending many years leading the Dallas Cowboys kicking game.

In two preseasons with Baltimore, Vedvik finished 12-of-13 on field goal attempts while averaging 47.6 yards per punt.


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