Tuesday, August 6, 2013
On rookie punters Jeff Locke, Sam Martin
By Kevin Seifert
Expectations rise for any specialist deemed talented enough to be drafted, and so there has been plenty of interest this summer in how the new punters in Minnesota (Jeff Locke) and Detroit (Sam Martin) are doing in training camp. Both were selected in the fifth round of the April draft, Locke at No. 155 overall and Martin at No. 165, and both are the heavy favorites to win the job this season.
At the moment, in fact, Locke is the only punter in Vikings camp. Martin is competing against Blake Clingan, who hasn't kicked in a game since the 2010 college football season. And both Locke and Martin are already wowing crowds with the raw distance on some of their kicks.
Monday, Locke booted one punt 65 yards in the air during team drills, according to Mark Craig of the Star Tribune. Another punt took a favorable roll and wound up 90 yards from the original line of scrimmage.
Martin, meanwhile, drilled a punt 71 yards last week, according to Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News. It's also possible that Martin will wind up as the Lions' kickoff man as well if coaches want to protect the leg of veteran place-kicker David Akers. Locke can kick off if needed, but Vikings place-kicker Blair Walsh was one of the NFL's best in that category last season.