A Good Sign for Adam Vinatieri?

Mike Chappell of the Indy Star wrote a story discussing the Colts progress signing this year’s draft picks. At the end of the story, Chappell reported that the Colts waived kicker Brett Swenson.

What could make this move significant is that Adam Vinatieri missed most of the 2009 season with injuries, and underwent right hip and knee surgeries.  When Vinatieri went down, the Colts signed veteran kicker Matt Stover, who has been in the league since 1990.

[media-credit name="Brent Smith | Reuters Photo" align="aligncenter" width="355"][/media-credit]At season’s end, the Colts released Stover and then chose to not sign a placekicker through the draft.  The franchise did bring in former Michigan State kicker Brett Swenson through undrafted free agency, however, whose future with the team seemed tied completely to Vinatieri’s health.

The team also acquired Garrett Lindholm off of waivers from the Atlanta Falcons, who appears to still be with the team.  Still, Swenson’s release increases the likelihood that Vinatieri will get some work during training camp, and could indicate that Vinatieri’s health is not a great concern for the team.

Although Lindholm remains, the team must have a great deal of confidence that AV will be able to take the field at the start of the season if they did not feel it necessary for two rookies to compete.  It can also be a good sign for Lindholm’s future in the NFL.

This is important not just for the Colts this season but also for Vinatieri’s NFL future, as he is entering the final year of his current contract.  It is good to learn that the team is confident in Vinatieri and hopefully he will have leg strength enough to hit field goals that Stover was unable to last year, both during the regular season and in the Super Bowl.

The good news for Vinatieri is that Pat McAfee has developed into a solid place kicker, fully capable of handling kickoff responsibilities.  This should allow Vinatieri to focus only on field goals and, in a high scoring offense like the Colts, take a significant strain off of his body during the regular season.