From South Dakota State University to undrafted free agent to four-time Super Bowl champion signing up for his 19th year in the NFL. Adam Vinatieri has agreed to terms with the Colts on a two-year deal according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Many people wondered if Vinatieri’s time with the Colts was nearing its end a few years ago, but the veteran kicker has silenced his doubters by showing even greater leg strength and range than he had in his 20s and 30s. Vinatieri has driven home 13 field goals of 50 or more yards in the past two seasons. The most he’s ever hit in a two year stretch before that was five in the 1999 and 2000 seasons – an impressive number in itself.
The former SDSU Jackrabbit and New England Patriot ranks high on several NFL career record lists and at 41 years old, had a brilliant season last year. From Colts.com:
Vinatieri recorded the second-highest single-season point total (139) of his 18-year career and the third-highest mark in Colts history in 2013. For the season, he converted a career-high 35-of-40 field goal attempts and 34-of-34 PATs. His 35 made field goals ranked third in franchise history and tied for 12th in NFL history. He also tied a career-high with four 50-yard field goals made.
Vinatieri became the seventh player in NFL history to score 2,000 career points and the second to post 800 points with two different teams in 2013. He tied Jason Elam for the most 100-point seasons (16) in NFL history and ranks fifth in points scored (2,006), sixth in PATs made (660) and seventh in field goals made (448). In the playoffs, Vinatieri passed Gary Anderson and David Akers for the most PATs made (60) in NFL postseason history. He also became the first player in NFL history to score 200 career points in the postseason and ranks tied for second with 27 career games played in the playoffs.
Vinatieri earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors on two occasions in 2013. In Week 6 at San Diego, he converted two field goals of 50-plus yards in a single game for the first time in his career. In Week 13 against Tennessee, Vinatieri tied a career-high with five made field goals overall and tied an NFL record for successful field goals made from 40-49 yards in a single game with four.
Vinatieri (or as I like to call him “The Big Game Hunter” because of his offseason hobby and prowess in actual “big games”) will have played 10 years with the Patriots and 10 years with the Colts when his new deal ends – 20 years as a professional football player.
In the NFL, experience is paramount at the kicking position, as Colts punter Pat McAfee often points out when asked about Vinatieri’s value. No one wants to go into the season with an unproven kicker, and rookie starters are rare. But when a team can go into the season with a proven veteran, or in Vinatieri’s case a near-certain future Hall of Famer, who still has the strength and accuracy to place kick with the very best, that’s cause for celebration, or at least peace of mind. Welcome back, Adam Vinatieri.