Injuries, holdouts and 'vanilla' offense. Welcome to the NFL preseason.

I'll be the first to tell you, sometimes I get bored watching preseason games and I fall into the trap of asking "What's the point of all this anyway?" I mean lets be honest, at face value it seems like a waste of time.

Key players aren't playing valuable minutes - if at all - because you run the risk of injury before the games that 'matter' even occur. The majority of the spotlight is stolen by players who spend their days arguing about contracts and details instead of suiting up to play ball.

While that might be the case for some, it's not for all, and if you look below the surface, you'll find some of the best position battles and young athletes hungry for playing time busting their tails to make an NFL dream come true.

If you need proof, look no further than former Marshall punter/kicker Kaare Vedvik.

Vedvik, after being passed over in the 2018 NFL Draft, signed a free agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens. After performing well in the preseason a year ago, he was brutally assaulted, dropped off on a street in East Baltimore and found around 4 a.m. that morning, suffering injuries severe enough for an extended stay at a local hospital and dashing any chance he'd make a roster last season.

Instead of being signed or 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.

Last Thursday night - just over three weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of the assault, Vedvik stormed back, showing the other 31 franchises in the NFL that he could still compete at a high level.

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. A few days later, he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings for a fifth-round draft pick.

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.

In Minnesota, it is expected that Vedvik will be used as both a kicker and punter - much how he was utilized at Marshall. In two preseasons with Baltimore, Vedvik finished 12-of-13 on field goal attempts while averaging 47.6 yards per punt.

Minnesota might be an all-around better situation for Vedvik anyway, seeing as the special teams unit has struggled in recent years and the Ravens have one of the more consistent units in the league. He's now got a chance to stand out and earn a starting role in some capacity, either kicking or punting.

Vedvik is just one of many success stories that surface from preseason play and while the games might not be a thrill to watch for the average fan, they can be life changing for any number of athletes chasing a dream.

Luke Creasy is a staff writer for the Wayne County News. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @HDcreasy.


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