On Sunday, the stakes for Chicago Bears kick competition increased when one of the divisional rivals made a big move.
The Minnesota Vikings acquired Ravens backup kicker Kaare Vedvik who had been on the Bears radar as a possible insurance plan. Although Vedvik is talented, the Bears made the right choice not trading for him given the price the Vikings paid.
NFL insider Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that the Vikings traded a 2020 fifth-round round pick in return for Vedvik. The former Ravens kicker was the sought after kicker on the market following a great preseason last year and a good first game this past week. The Bears were looking at Vedvik as a potential fallback plan if both Eddy Pineiro and Elliot Fry did not work out.
Giving anything higher than a seventh-round pick for any kicker, let alone one that hasn’t kick in a regular-season game is too much for the Bears to currently pay. General manager Ryan Pace has traded away draft picks in his last three seasons. Pace can’t to trade any more picks away given the team impending salary cap dilemma with several quality players in need of contract extension the next few years.
Mike Mulligan of the “Mully & Haugh Morning Show” on 670 The Score reported that the Bears did offer a conditional fifth-round pick for their offer.
Although Vedvik being in the division could hurt the Bears, losing a potential mid-round draft steal could hurt more. Pace has been excellent finding talent in the mid-round of the draft. He has drafted players like Jordan Howard and Adrian Amos in the fifth round. The Bears will not have a first-round draft selection again this year due to the Khalil Mack trade, so every pick they can keep is that more valuable.
The trade hurts less also because of Fry and Pineiro’s play in so far this preseason.
Both have performed well in camp and the lone preseason game, with the only concern being Pineiro’s missed kick last Thursday. Pace and head coach Matt Nagy still have three games left to determine if those two can win the kicking position before looking elsewhere.
The Vikings could have also overpaid for Vedvik given their kicking environment. He will be kicking in a dome in 10 games this season and 12 next season. Not having to worry about weather conditions, the Vikings could have found a more affordable way to add a kicker and still provide that kicker an ideal kicking situation.
Had the Bears traded for Vedvik, there was no guarantee that he would have been able to adjust to the kicking conditions of Soldier Field that has plagued several kickers the last few seasons. That alone is way too much of a risk to give up a mid-round draft selection.
Pace and Bears fans should not feel bad for losing out on Vedvik’s services, even if it is within the division. The Bears have spent the entire offseason and preseason so far on finding the best kicker for their team and have come down to Pineiro and Fry. If the team can trust either two at least to start the season, the kicking issue might not be with the players they bring in, but those evaluating the kickers.