OWINGS MILLS — Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta capitalized quickly on Kaare Vedvik's impeccable start to the preseason.
Baltimore traded the Norwegian kicker to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday afternoon, pending a physical. The Ravens received a fifth-round pick, an impressive haul for a player who would not have made the roster, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
“I'm really fired up for Kaare,” special teams coach Chris Horton said. “Kaare was right on schedule. He was right where we needed him to be. Coach Brown, myself, we did a great job getting him ready for this opportunity. He went out Thursday night and he had an awesome night. I'm really, really happy for Kaare. He deserves it after everything he's been through. What an opportunity for him.”
Vedvick, 25, made all four of his attempts Thursday night during the Ravens' preseason win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He connected from distances of 55, 45, 26 and 29 yards. The Ravens acted quickly, knowing his value would fall upon a single missed kick throughout the rest of the preseason.
Vedvik also punted twice, sailing the ball for distances of 53 and 58 yards.
The Vikings are reportedly interested in having Vedvik fill both the punter and placekicker roles, opening another spot on the 53-man roster and justifying the relatively high price they paid.
“Did you watch the game on Thursday?” Horton replied when asked if he believed if Vedvik was capable to fulfill both duties. “He's prepared himself. He's a rare guy.”
Speculation was that the Chicago Bears, a team with well-known kicking woes, would try to trade for Vedvik. Instead, the Bears division rivals were the ones to make the deal.
Horton believes a fifth-round pick was warranted for Vedvik. The last time any team traded a kicker for that high of a pick was in 1996, when the Miami Dolphins sent Pete Stoyanovich to the Kansas City Chiefs, according to Schefter.
It’s not often a team trades a fifth-round pick for a kicker, as the Vikings are doing today for former Ravens’ kicker Kaare Vedvik. Here’s a look back at other trades for kickers: pic.twitter.com/rGgejNmopQ— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 11, 2019
“He's like every other position,” he said. “He executed. He did the things he was supposed to do. Just like a quarterback, running back, 'DB,' linebacker, if you have value, guys are going to want you. He upped his stock, he got better this offseason.”
Vedvik was likely to be traded as a rookie last preseason when he made 8 of 9 field goal attempts, but he was hospitalized after being assaulted in East Baltimore and spent the year on the non-football injury list.
DeCosta came on to the practice field Sunday and met with head coach John Harbaugh and kicking coach Randy Brown. Vedvik then headed into the team facility.
“He was fired up. We were fired up for him,” Horton said. “We all gave him big hugs and wished him the best.”
In his first offseason as general manager, DeCosta has made a pair of trades for players who were not going to make the 53-man roster. The Ravens received a fourth-round pick from the Denver Broncos for quarterback Joe Flacco. They also dealt offensive lineman Alex Lewis, who was on the fringe of making the team or being released, to the New York Jets for a conditional seventh-round pick.
The Ravens are known to have a strong kicking pedigree. Most recently, Will Lutz signed with the New Orleans Saints after spending his rookie training camp with Baltimore in 2016.
Vedvik, like Lutz, was able to use a strong preseason as a successful audition for another team. Both knew their futures would not be with the Ravens, who already have Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history.
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig