Locke’s plenty familiar with both snappers
Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said that the competition for the starting long snapper position will likely not come to an end until late in the preseason because the team likes both Kevin McDermott and Cullen Loeffler and wants to give both players an equal chance to play in games.
Apart from the two players competing for the position, the one affected most by waiting this long is the team’s punter, Jeff Locke. He is the one taking direct snaps from these players in punting situations and as a placeholder during field goal attempts. So by having to wait he is not able to get in a rhythm with just one snapper, and instead has to do so with two of them.
He isn’t too worried about that being a problem for him, though, because he has a lot of experience working with both players.
“At this point, after so many days I kind of know the differences between Kevin and Cullen, so I know what to expect when the ball’s coming at me depending on which snapper it is,” Lock said. “In terms of how the ball spins and stuff like that, how I’m going to catch it, so I think at this point it’s really just easy.”
Locke was selected by the Vikings in the fifth round of the 2013 draft and has been taking snaps from Loeffler since his arrival in Minnesota. Before he was drafted, the punter played football at UCLA, where he was teammates with McDermott and caught snaps from him for two years.
Having the two guys he has spent his entire career receiving snaps from makes switching back and forth a lot easier. It might have been a lot more difficult if the Vikings brought in a player that Locke had not worked with before, but to the punter’s delight that was not the case.
“In my career playing football, I’ve probably caught an equal amount of snaps from Kevin and Cullen,” he said. “Having both those guys, it’s pretty easy. It’s not like I have a guy I’ve never caught a snap from before and I have to try and figure out what his tendencies are. I kind of know what’s going to happen with these two so really it’s not going to bother me.”
Locke is close with both of the long snappers. Loeffler has been helping him out since his arrival in Minnesota and been sort of a mentor to him. And McDermott was his college teammate and the two remained close friends off the field after they both graduated.
The close ties he has to both of the players will make things difficult when one gets released from the team, but for now he is just focusing on working with both of them and improving his game.
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