More On The Lloyd Signing

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 9, 2010 – 8:41 am

Although it doesn’t carry the same high-profile nature of a signing such as DE Julius Peppers or S Antrel Rolle, the Vikings soon-to-be official acquisition of kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd is no less important.

The Vikings, of any team, surely realize the impact of the kickoff and kickoff return game. During the 2009 season, Percy Harvin averaged 27.5 yards per kickoff return and there were a number of times when a big return from the rookie sparked the offense and turned momentum around. Additionally, there were a number of times when the Vikings gave up a big return – at Chicago in Week 16 and at New Orleans in the NFC title game – that stole momentum.

While in general the Vikings special teams play improved in 2009 from 2008, I expect that the signing of Lloyd will yield even better results for the Vikings in 2010. Specifically, Lloyd will register more touchbacks (TBs) than Ryan Longwell. During the 2009 season, Longwell had 5 TBs while Lloyd tallied 21. For his career, Lloyd registers TBs on 33.3% of his kickoffs (51 out of 153), which is an excellent rate and one that will make life easier for the Vikings kickoff coverage team and defense.

To illustrate the importance of forcing opponents to start at or inside their own 20-yardline, consider this: During the 2009 season, Vikings opponents scored on 28.1% of their drives (53 out of 188). But when Vikings opponents began drives inside the 20-yardline, they scored just 18.2% of the time (8 out of 44).

Lloyd has been efficient at registering TBs during his career and he’s been spectacular when kicking indoors. During the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Lloyd tallied 15 TBs on 34 kickoffs (44.1%) while playing indoors. This is a good trend for the Vikings considering they will play 10 of their 16 regular season games indoors next year.

The extra strength Lloyd provides on kickoffs will also come in handy for the Vikings 6 outdoor games in 2010. Depending on what time of year the games are played, contests in Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York (Jets), Philadelphia and Washington can often times feature inclement weather that makes it hard on the kickoff team. With Lloyd on the roster, though, the effect won’t be felt as much by the Vikings kick coverage team.

So the addition of Lloyd won’t necessarily result in more sacks or INTs, and it doesn’t help the Vikings replace Chester Taylor, but it does give the team another weapon that will ultimately result in worse field position for the opponent. Longwell will now be able to focus solely on FGs and PATs while Lloyd will concentrate on booting TBs.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 13 Comments »

13 Responses to “More On The Lloyd Signing”

  1. By Bigfan1 on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    We have arguably the best kickers in the league, the addition of Lloyd is golden.

  2. By Chaz on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    It is a roster spot, but it is smart considering how much we struggle in special teams. Now i don’t have to sweat every time we kick the ball.

  3. By secondnature815 on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    Fantastic move Vikes!!! I noticed it last year as well and this is a great move.

  4. By BOB on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    The special teams improvement was one of the big reasons we were able to make a run at the title this last year. Any improvement in that game segment puts us in a better position.

  5. By Craig on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    Can’t Lloyd also punt? He’s a pretty decent tackler too (if I remember right).

  6. By purplehorn on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    It’s the little tweaks that make for big improvements. This guy is going to help the special teams play and minimize unnecessary injuires. Griffin and Greenway to name just two. Gil Brandt says the Vikings are looking at LT??? That is interesting, but I just can’t imagine him running the swing pass- even though I know he did it in San Diego. LT isn’t finished playing football, he was finished with the Chargers. He has some attitude problems, but those seem to be related to losing and play selection/coaching. We will C

  7. By Daniel El-Maguid on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    Getting Llyod will definently help the Vikes in special Teams and when it comes to game winning FG’s. Now the only thing left for the Vikes to do in FA is to go out and get LT!!!!

  8. By Greg F on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    Very smart move…the game is all about field position!

  9. By vikings012 on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    this isnt the biggets move ever but im lovin it. i love longwell and hes a great kicker but as for kickoffs he didnt boot it into the endzone as much as i would have liked but adding lloyd will help us alot making teams have to go the distance against our powerful defense thats gonna be tough. love the move

  10. By the horned norseman on Mar 12, 2010 | Reply

    now that they got lloyd, will they still keep kluwe?

  11. By Vikesfan#1 on Jul 23, 2010 | Reply

    We would have won at soldier field if it werent for those 2 huge kick returns(among other things). With Lloyd we don’t have to worry about that.

  12. By Vikesfan#1 on Jul 23, 2010 | Reply

    Almost certainly. If they didn’t want kluwe they would have done something by now too free up a roster spot.

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