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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings ST coach Priefer gives oral history of McDermott losing part of his finger vs. Rams

By Matthew Coller

Lost in last Thursday night’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams was a story of one man overcoming a horrific injury and another man rising to the challenge to replace him. Yes, I’m talking about long snapper Kevin McDermott losing a part of his finger after he got in caught in another player’s facemask and tight end David Morgan filling in at long snapper.

On Thursday, special teams coach Mike Priefer took the media through what he saw from his emergency long snapper and how the team dealt with a rare injury at the position.

Priefer talked about getting the news and quickly getting Morgan to prepare for snapping duty.

“Eric Sugarman and the whole training staff, they do a phenomenal job,” Priefer said. “ Immediately, no matter who gets hurt, they come to me after they let coach Zim know, they come tell me and obviously that’s important for our depth chart and moving people around on the depth chart and all the phases. Eric came up and said ‘Kevin is in the locker room and hurt his finger,’ alright, no problem. I went an immediately found David and we gotta move on and then went back to Sug afterward and told me what happened.”

While Morgan was competent in the role last year when called upon in Green Bay, it wasn’t exactly something he was hoping to repeat.

“He had never snapped before Green Bay last year and you keep training him and when he was hurt Tyler Conklin was the next guy and we just gotta keep doing it,” Priefer said. “It’s crazy, I’ve never had this happen this often. Funny thing about David, on the sideline he was getting a little nervous. He was going, ‘where’s Kevin? Is he coming back out?’ I’m like, he’s going to be fine but we’re going to need you to step up here and unfortunately he told me last year in Green Bay he was terrified. I didn’t know that during the game because he had reacted so well and did a great job in the 6-degree weather.

“My only coaching point to him was, number one, worry about snapping the ball, don’t worry about protection and punt and field goal, we’ll be fine, the guards will help you out. And number two, it’s 75 degrees warmer now, so you’re going to be just fine. Of course the very first practice snap went sailing over Matt’s head and I got real nervous. David did a great job once again, he stepped up on both punt and field goal. Our punter did a great job getting it out because we knew they were going to come after us.”

McDermott ultimately returned with his pinky sewed up and a larger bandage on his hand.

“The first thing Kevin said to me was, ‘hey Prief, I lost half my finger,’” Priefer said. “Alright congratulations here’s what we have to do to win this game. We addressed that afterwards. I’m proud of Kevin and what he did, he’s a tough guy. He’s gained a lot of notoriety for what he did. A lot of people, some guys I’ve coached before, Lonie Paxton, I coached him in Denver and he sent me a message and said what a stud Kevin is. I was real proud of him and how he responded and how he snapped after that. It takes a tough man to do that.”

If you think you’re prepared for stuff, NFL teams will put you to shame. The team spends time in practice each week with backup long snappers just in case someone’s pinky gets ripped off.

“We only do it Thursdays,” Priefer said. “After practice we have a backup snappers, backup holders work, they do 10-15 minutes after practice. The reason that’s important is that it’s happened to us twice in the last year. It doesn’t happen to a lot of teams, I don’t know if everybody has a backup snapper, but I do know that we had Jared Allen here and he was drafted as a snapper, so it was never a big deal with him. Chad Greenway was a great backup snapper.

“Adam Thielen is probably our best backup snapper, but I’m sure not putting a Pro Bowl receiver in there on punt and field goals to get hammered. I think I’d be in trouble for that one. So when David got here two years ago, we made sure we started training him. Tyler Conklin, we started training him. There’s offensive linemen we train to be backup field goal snappers as well.”

This week against the Philadelphia Eagles, McDermott will be right back out there snapping for the Vikings.

”He had a brace on Monday that he had to change because it was bent the wrong way or whatever so it didn’t feel right,” Priefer said. “He got it changed and now he’s good to go.”

The post Vikings ST coach Priefer gives oral history of McDermott losing part of his finger vs. Rams appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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