Aussie Punter to Work Out with Vikings

Upon the recommendation of former Vikings special teams coach Gary Zauner, the Vikings are scheduled to take a look at a punting prospect he has mentored with some raw tools and an Australian origin.

Shane Phillips, a 6-foot-2, 218-pound punter originally from Melbourne, Australia, is scheduled to workout with the Vikings this coming week at Winter Park, according to a blog post on Gary Zauner's website.

"Shane came to me in March for some one on one lessons and was a very raw punter with a strong leg," Zauner said.  "Shane lacked certain fundamentals, in my opinion, which subsequently caused him to be inconsistent."

"As Shane kept working hard on the drills I gave him to improve his fundamentals, he got better and better," he added.  "After about four lessons and a lot of hard work, Shane went to Louie Aguair's Kicking Workout Camp in Dallas and was rated the #1 punter after a couple days of competition."

However, the day all the NFL special teams coaches and scouts were there to evaluate the talent, a storm blew in.  Phillips was scheduled to be the first punter up, and the storm with a torrential downpour of rain came and temperatures dropped quickly.  As they continued the work out, Phillips reportedly popped his hamstring.

"It was extremely unfortunate for Shane, because he was punting the football the best he had ever punted in his life," Zauner said.  "He was now unable to punt for several weeks ... He came back to Scottsdale to train with me.  After a couple more one on one punting lessons he was booming the ball with consistency.  He was now an NFL punting candidate in my mind.

Phillips is also scheduled to help out at Zauner's kicking camp at Wisconsin-River Falls next week.  Zauner reportedly put in a call to the Vikings to see if they would give him a tryout.  With only incumbent Chris Kluwe currently on the roster, they agreed to take a look.

A couple other teams have also shown some interest, but the tryout with the Vikings is his first with an NFL team.

Phillips was an Australian Rules Football player who came to the United States and originally attended Alcorn State University in 2001 on a baseball scholarship.  He played both sports and was their punter for four years (2002-05).

Splitting duties between baseball and football probably hindered his development as a punter, but he is currently focused on trying to make it to the NFL.

"Shane is a strong-legged punter that needs to improve on his consistency," Zauner said upon first working with Phillips earlier this spring.  "We worked on a couple of fundamentals that I felt would make him a better punter.  We worked the drop progression and the one-step drill.  We then progressed to the power zone punting technique.  Shane was a quick learner!  By the end of the lesson he was hitting the ball with better hang times and more consistency."

His statistics at Alcorn State are unimpressive.  He averaged 38.5 on 74 punts (with a long of 68 yards) in 2002; averaged 37.8 on 46 punts (58 long) in 2003; averaged 38.0 on 59 punts (72 long) in 2004; and 36.1 on 48 punts (61 long) in 2005.

While it's highly unlikely that Phillips would provide a legitimate challenge to Kluwe for the regular punting chores this season, it's not uncommon to at least have an extra leg in training camp to save on the repetitions.

At this point, that's all Phillips is looking for, a chance to get some reps and perhaps get noticed.

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Shane Phillips, a 6-foot-2, 218-pound punter originally from Melbourne, Australia, is scheduled to workout with the Vikings this coming week at Winter Park, according to a blog post on Gary Zauner's website.

"Shane came to me in March for some one on one lessons and was a very raw punter with a strong leg," Zauner said.  "Shane lacked certain fundamentals, in my opinion, which subsequently caused him to be inconsistent."

"As Shane kept working hard on the drills I gave him to improve his fundamentals, he got better and better," he added.  "After about four lessons and a lot of hard work, Shane went to Louie Aguair's Kicking Workout Camp in Dallas and was rated the #1 punter after a couple days of competition."

However, the day all the NFL special teams coaches and scouts were there to evaluate the talent, a storm blew in.  Phillips was scheduled to be the first punter up, and the storm with a torrential downpour of rain came and temperatures dropped quickly.  As they continued the work out, Phillips reportedly popped his hamstring.

"It was extremely unfortunate for Shane, because he was punting the football the best he had ever punted in his life," Zauner said.  "He was now unable to punt for several weeks ... He came back to Scottsdale to train with me.  After a couple more one on one punting lessons he was booming the ball with consistency.  He was now an NFL punting candidate in my mind.

Phillips is also scheduled to help out at Zauner's kicking camp at Wisconsin-River Falls next week.  Zauner reportedly put in a call to the Vikings to see if they would give him a tryout.  With only incumbent Chris Kluwe currently on the roster, they agreed to take a look.

A couple other teams have also shown some interest, but the tryout with the Vikings is his first with an NFL team.

Phillips was an Australian Rules Football player who came to the United States and originally attended Alcorn State University in 2001 on a baseball scholarship.  He played both sports and was their punter for four years (2002-05).

Splitting duties between baseball and football probably hindered his development as a punter, but he is currently focused on trying to make it to the NFL.

"Shane is a strong-legged punter that needs to improve on his consistency," Zauner said upon first working with Phillips earlier this spring.  "We worked on a couple of fundamentals that I felt would make him a better punter.  We worked the drop progression and the one-step drill.  We then progressed to the power zone punting technique.  Shane was a quick learner!  By the end of the lesson he was hitting the ball with better hang times and more consistency."

His statistics at Alcorn State are unimpressive.  He averaged 38.5 on 74 punts (with a long of 68 yards) in 2002; averaged 37.8 on 46 punts (58 long) in 2003; averaged 38.0 on 59 punts (72 long) in 2004; and 36.1 on 48 punts (61 long) in 2005.

While it's highly unlikely that Phillips would provide a legitimate challenge to Kluwe for the regular punting chores this season, it's not uncommon to at least have an extra leg in training camp to save on the repetitions.

At this point, that's all Phillips is looking for, a chance to get some reps and perhaps get noticed.

Join the Discussion

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