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Jordan Berry or Ryan Wright? Winner of Vikings' Punting Battle Yet To Be Determined

The Vikings' punting competition will come down to the final preseason game in Denver.
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One week ahead of roster cutdown day, the Vikings still haven't decided who their punter will be this season. A competition that began back in the spring has persisted throughout training camp and the first two preseason games, and what happens in the August finale on Saturday night in Denver could determine the winner.

Update: So much for the punting battle on Saturday. The Vikings released Jordan Berry on Thursday. Original story continues below.

The presumed favorite all along has been eighth-year veteran Jordan Berry. The Australian spent six seasons as the Steelers' punter before being signed by the Vikings last year to replace Britton Colquitt. Berry was an average or slightly below average punter in 2021, but he certainly wasn't a liability.

Still, the Vikings brought in a challenger for the job when they signed former Tulane standout Ryan Wright, a 22-year-old native Californian who finished fifth in FBS last year in net punting average. Wright has stuck around throughout the entire offseason and has performed well enough in preseason games to keep himself in the mix for the job.

The two punters aren't making the Vikings' decision an easy one. Funnily enough, their stats are almost identical through two games. Both Berry and Wright have punted five times for exactly 243 yards (48.6 yards per punt).

  • Jordan Berry: 5 punts, 243 yards, 56 long, 0 touchbacks, 1 inside 20, 2 fair catches
  • Ryan Wright: 5 punts, 243 yards, 59 long, 1 touchback, 1 inside 20, 0 fair catches

Vikings special teams coordinator Matt Daniels confirmed that the battle will, to some extent, come down to what happens in the final preseason game.

"You could say that, yes," Daniels said when asked if Saturday night would almost function as a punt-off between the two. "You could say that. It is a punt-off. Both guys have been — it's almost like they're carbon copies, it's weird. One guy screams down, hits an amazing punt, and then the next guy doesn't feel that pressure and follows it up with another big punt. So you look at it, and I think both guys have been doing a great job throughout this camp."

"We'll go back, check out the tape, look at the statistics that we've been compiling, putting together throughout this entire training camp, and look at it, and see who the better man is. But overall I think both guys have been doing a good job."

Berry's NFL experience helps his case. But if the Vikings think the rookie Wright is the better player for the 2022 season, that's all that really matters.

With that said, it's important to note that punting isn't the only aspect of the job. The punter is also the holder for all of Greg Joseph's kicks, which is a crucial element of the competition. Daniels, Joseph, and the Vikings need to know that their punter can be reliable as a holder on every single kick. That's why they're consulting with Joseph to get his input on what both Berry and Wright bring to the table in that regard.

"That's something that we're very critical about," Daniels said. "It's conversations that we have with Greg because we want to know what his opinion is. Obviously there is a chemistry with him and Jordan Berry just because of the time on task, right, they've been doing it more. (Greg) is comfortable with Ryan Wright as well. We'll continue to have those conversations with Greg and that will play a part in the final decision of who our punter will be for the 2022 season."

The stage is set. 8 p.m. central time in Denver on Saturday night. A punt-off between  veteran and rookie. A job on the line. This is what the preseason is all about.

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