The Indianapolis Colts entered last offseason having to address their kicker vacancy, so when they opted against selecting one in the 2020 Draft, fans couldn’t help but be confounded by their decision-making.
Like he always does, however, general manager Chris Ballard proved to have a trick up his sleeve and signed Georgia star Rodrigo Blankenship as an undrafted free agent. The move proved to be an absolute bargain as he made a strong push to finish with the most points in the league, all the while becoming the Colts’ all-time leading scorer in a single season for a rookie.
Blankenship’s emergence really did wonders to help the fan base forget about Adam Vinatieri, who wasn’t re-signed following his atrocity of a final season with Indianapolis in 2019. That appeared to be the last time we’d hear about Vinatieri as far as his kicking career was concerned, but the 48-year-old vet revealed during an interview with former Colts punter Pat McAfee this week that he hasn’t ruled out a return to the NFL.
Sorry, what? Colts fans obviously have great respect for all Vinatieri accomplished with the franchise — like winning a Super Bowl and holding a slew of franchise kicking records — but there is simply nothing to gain from him running it back for another season.
It felt like kickers performed at an all-time low this past year, but what sane organization would take a chance on a washed-up veteran that just spent a year out of the league? As for the reason Vinatieri spent the entirety of 2020 as an unused free agent, he was recovering from knee surgery and couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with the Colts in 2019 before the injury.
Across 12 games, the three-time Pro Bowler converted on just 17-of-25 (68%) field goal attempts, which included 5-of-12 (41.6%) from beyond 40 yards. He wasn’t much better on extra-point tries either, drilling a lousy 78.5% (22-of-28) of his attempts. To put those shocking numbers into perspective, his field goal percentage ranked 31st out of 33 qualified kickers and his point-after clip ranked dead last out of 28 qualified kickers.
This isn’t to say that he wouldn’t like to see Vinatieri defy the odds and become a starting kicker for a team in 2021. That would be a massive accomplishment for a player of his age. However, given how highly regarded he is throughout the NFL for his career accolades, we’d hate to see him go through the grueling process just to struggle as much as he did with the Colts two years prior.