As free agency is starting to wind down, an interesting name hit the market last week as Raiders head coach Jon Gruden released Pro Bowl punter Marquette King. According to reports, it was King’s brash personality, not his punting, that turned Gruden off. Not long after, the Vikings reportedly reached out to King.
Current Vikings punter Ryan Quigley had a decent 2017. He did not record a touchback until the last week of the season. However, he also had one of the worst distance averages in the league. Generally speaking, Quigley is a fine punter for a team that often has good field position (like the Vikings) due to his accuracy and coffin corner abilities. But his weak leg means he will never be able to turn field position on his own.
Enter King. This past season for the Raiders, King punted the ball 69 times with an average of 47.4 yards per kick. He allowed six touchbacks, but also landed 28 of those punts within the 20 yard line. Compare that with Quigley’s 42.2 average and 29 inside the 20. King simply has a better leg than Quigley without sacrificing much in terms of pinning the opponent.
While King is known for some of his antics, he has world class ability at the position. It is yet to be seen how Mike Zimmer would react to some of these antics, but by no means has King been reported as a poor teammate. Regardless of what some may report about his attitude, by all accounts King is an upgrade with next to no downside.
King figures to command a little less than $2 million per year, according to Spotrac. He would cost around a million more than Quigley currently cost, but it is a fee the Vikings should definitely entertain. A signing like this hardly breaks the bank, and gives the Vikings another free agency win.