TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Kicker Adam Vinatieri, the Indianapolis Colts' biggest offseason acquisition, missed Tuesday morning's practice with a sprained left ankle.
Coach Tony Dungy said Vinatieri, who kicks with his right foot, hurt his ankle while running Monday, the same day the Colts cut Shane Andrus, the only other kicker on the roster.
"He did it in conditioning, and he's day-to-day," Dungy said.
Indianapolis signed Vinatieri, considered the NFL's best clutch kicker, to a five-year, $12 million contract in March to replace Mike Vanderjagt. Vinatieri had two Super Bowl-winning field goals with New England.
Ooooh, how about QB, Shaun King replacing Adam Vinatieri on kicks!?
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Backup kickers should send job applications to the Indianapolis Colts.
Adam Vinatieri and punter Hunter Smith are both injured and expected to miss Sunday's preseason game against Seattle, leaving the Colts scrambling to find replacements.
On Wednesday, that meant trying out backup quarterback Shaun King at kicker and tight end Ben Utecht at punter. Dungy appreciated their efforts, but by Thursday, he'd already decided the Colts needed to add two experienced kickers for the preseason home opener.
He said after the morning workout that the team would probably sign kicker Shane Andrus and a punter.
Andrus came to training camp in the unenviable position of having to beat out Vinatieri, widely regarded as the NFL's best in the clutch, a reputation he earned after making two Super Bowl-winning kicks for New England. The Colts signed Vinatieri to a five-year, $12 million contract in March.
So it was no surprise when Indy released Andrus, a free agent from Murray State, on Monday when five new players joined the roster.
Then the rash of injuries that depleted other areas finally hit the Colts' specialists. Vinatieri sprained his left ankle -- or plant foot -- while running. He hasn't practiced since.
Dungy initially planned to use Smith as the backup, but that changed Tuesday when the punter strained his groin and missed practice the past two days. So the coach improvised.
While King tried kicking for the first time in his life, Utecht returned to a spot he once held at the University of Minnesota.
The results were mixed.
"I should have retired after my first one," King joked Thursday. "I hit the first one, then got in a rut."
Utecht was the Gophers' backup punter until his senior season when a sports hernia forced him to give up the role. Utecht said it was the first time in nearly four years he'd tried punting in anything other than a playful manner.
"I'm pretty comfortable in those situations," Utecht said. "Somebody asked me yesterday if it was like riding a bike, you don't forget. It didn't take me long to get used to it again."
Dungy was more impressed with Utecht's results than King's but apparently was not convinced he should use Utecht Sunday night.
"We've already found out he can be an emergency punter for us, if we need it," Dungy said.
Andrus returned to Terre Haute on Wednesday to watch practice but has not yet re-signed.
Most of the Colts other key players have returned to practice.
The biggest names, aside from Vinatieri and Smith, missing from Thursday morning's practice were safety Mike Doss, defensive tackles Corey Simon and Montae Reagor, guard Ryan Lilja and wide receiver Brandon Stokley.
All are significant contributors, but Lilja, Simon and Reagor have all missed at least one week. Doss has missed the last two days of practice after aggravating a calf injury that kept him out most of the first two weeks of camp.
Stokley's injury is the most serious. He sprained his left ankle Sunday, and he could miss the Colts' regular-season opener on Sept. 10.
The Colts have also considered having Simon undergo surgery on his sore knee.
Tests have not yet indicated why rookie safety Jahmile Addae became lightheaded during Wednesday morning's workout, Dungy said. Addae was to have more tests Thursday in Indianapolis.
Dungy said there was another way the Colts could deal with their kicking dilemma -- don't punt Sunday.
"I hope we don't punt as often as we did last week," he said. "Maybe we'll just score touchdowns or go for it every time."
Indys_time wrote:LOL, Well hope Stokley is good to go for week 1. IMO he is the best slot reciever in the NFL.
I won't argue with that. Seems like he's always banged up in some way, but there are few slot wideouts with as much speed and talent when he's healthy. I'll try to find some info on his projeced return, but from what Dungy last said, it sounds like Stokley could be out for the opener. We'll see.