The Vikings have signed former LSU punter Zach Von Rosenberg as an undrafted free agent to compete with Britton Colquitt in training camp.
Normally, that wouldn't be particularly interesting news. What makes it a fascinating story is Von Rosenberg's unique path to the NFL.
First of all, he's 30 years old, turning 31 in September. He was the oldest player in college football in 2020 and instantly becomes the seventh-oldest player on the Vikings' roster, just weeks younger than longtime NFL stars Patrick Peterson and Adam Thielen.
Why is he that old? Because football wasn't Von Rosenberg's first sport. A star pitcher in high school, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB Draft and was once considered a top-50 MLB prospect in the country. After failing to advance past high-A ball during his six years in the Pirates' minor league system, he called it quits in 2015 and looked to his next journey.
Von Rosenberg, who grew up 20 miles north of LSU, walked on to Tigers' football team when Les Miles was still the coach. At first he thought he might play his high school position of quarterback, then beefed up to play tight end before finding a role as a punter. He eventually earned a scholarship and was LSU's starting punter from 2017 to 2020, including winning a national title in 2019.
He's a legitimately good punter with a chance to potentially beat out Colquitt, a 12-year NFL veteran who is the Vikings' oldest player at 36. Von Rosenberg made the All-SEC second team twice and averaged 44 yards per punt in a 47-game career. Colquitt's career average in the NFL is 45.4, but he finished second-to-last among NFL punters in net yardage (which includes returns and touchbacks) last season.
At 6'5", 245, the lefty-punting Von Rosenberg is bigger than the 6'3", 210-pound Colquitt. He obviously is at a major disadvantage in terms of NFL experience, but he would be slightly cheaper for the Vikings to keep. This could be a serious competition in camp.
What a cool and crazy story.
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