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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: David Morgan proves to be a quick study after being forced to take over long-snapping duties

By Judd Zulgad

GREEN BAY, WIS. – David Morgan still isn’t sure why the Vikings decided he would be a good candidate to work as an emergency long snapper, but he wasn’t about to say no when asked to work in that role a few weeks back after fellow tight end and long-snapper candidate Blake Bell suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

“They just wanted me to do it,” Morgan said, “I don’t know (why). No idea.”

Morgan accepted the assignment likely figuring he would never be needed for the job. But that changed late in the second quarter of the Vikings’ 16-0 victory over Green Bay on Saturday night at Lambeau Field.

That was when Kevin McDermott suffered an injury to his left shoulder with punter Ryan Quigley in to punt. Morgan, a sixth-round pick by the Vikings in 2016, was called upon to handle the long snapping duties for the remainder of the game.

What made this interesting was that Morgan had never long snapped before in a game at any level. “I was anxious,” Morgan said. “It was new to me and obviously that’s a big part of the game. A lot of things can go wrong. But I just kind of had to step up, do it and get it done.”

Morgan snapped for three Quigley punts and two Kai Forbath field-goal attempts in the second half without issue. His snap on Forbath’s 20-yard field goal in the third quarter was a bit high but Quigley got the ball down in plenty of time.

“That was great,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of Morgan’s effort. “For a guy that never really has done that, and definitely not in a professional football game, I thought he did outstanding. “The first field-goal snap was a little shaky. The last field-goal snap to put us up by two scores was good. The second punt snap was actually better than the first. It shows a lot really about our team. We had some guys go down tonight and other guys stepped in and continued to fight.”

Morgan’s contributions didn’t end with his long snapping. He also had two receptions for 26 yards. His biggest catch came in the third quarter, with the Vikings facing a third-and-13 from their own 47-yard line.

The Packers applied pressure on Case Keenum and the quarterback, as he has done so many times before, was able to avoid defenders as he first ran ahead and then went backward.

Morgan saw this and began yelling at Keenum. “Obviously, Case has been great keeping plays alive with his feet,” Morgan said. “It was a play I was actually in protection on. The play got kind of busted. I knew Case was looking for somebody and so I just kind of had to let my guy go in hopes of getting open and he saw me and we just kind of made something happen.”

Keenum found Morgan and he managed to gain 23 yards for the first down. The drive ended with Forbath’s 20-yard field goal. “He just kind of flashed across my vision,” Keenum said. “He had a heck of a game tonight.”

McDermott, who will have an MRI on his shoulder, said he has been working with Morgan every Thursday after practice in recent weeks on the art of long snapping.

“He did a fantastic job,” McDermott said. “Not only is it difficult to do that job on its own, but he was getting a lot of snaps on offense. You saw him playing an offensive down on third down (and then) it’s fourth, (he’s) taking his gloves off and throwing them to the sidelines and then getting down and snapping the ball. I’m so proud of him.”

Morgan, who played college football at the University of Texas at San Antonio, is well aware of the fact that the more skillsets he brings to the Vikings the more chance he has of keeping a job for the long term.

“There’s only so many spots for players on the team, so obviously you’ve got to find things you can help out the team,” he said. “Whatever area I can help out on this team I’m ready to do it.”

Morgan did plenty on Saturday.

The post Zulgad: David Morgan proves to be a quick study after being forced to take over long-snapping duties appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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