MINNEAPOLIS (May 24, 2005) -- Paul Edinger is ready for a fresh start, and the Minnesota Vikings were happy to give him one.
The Vikings cranked up their kicker competition by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with Edinger, who was cut earlier this month by the Chicago Bears after spending the previous five seasons with them.
Last year, Edinger scored a career-low 67 points -- making only 15 of 24 field goals. He'll be up against Aaron Elling in training camp.
"What we really tried to strive for this offseason was competition at every position," vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski said. "We're really high on Aaron, and we like Paul. It should be a good battle."
Elling was the Vikings' regular kicker in 2003, totaling 102 points and converting 18 of 25 field goals. He lost the job in training camp last season, briefly joined the Tennessee Titans, returned as a kickoff specialist and then broke his ankle in November and missed the rest of the year. Morten Andersen kicked for Minnesota last season, but was not re-signed.
Edinger, who signed a $7 million, five-year offer sheet with Minnesota in 2003 that was matched by Chicago, is the most accurate field goal kicker in Bears history with a 75.3 percent success rate. He was drafted in the sixth round in 2000 out of Michigan State.
Last season was a challenge, something Edinger hopes never to have to repeat.
"Hopefully that's as bad as it gets for me," he said in a phone interview.
Minor mechanical adjustments can make all the difference for those who do this for a living.
"I know what I was doing wrong," Edinger said. "I fixed that, and I feel comfortable now with the way I'm kicking. Very comfortable."
The job isn't guaranteed, though, because the Vikings plan to give Elling every chance to stay on top of the depth chart.
"I don't want to take anything away from him," Edinger said. "I have to come in and earn it. I know that. I just have to do my best."
When Chicago signed Doug Brien earlier this month, Edinger asked to be traded. He was pleased that the Bears released him with plenty of time to catch on with another team before training camp.
"They decided to go in the direction they wanted," Edinger said. "I appreciate them doing that now instead of later."