Another Vinatieri, Another Standout Kicker

Posted Nov 17, 2017

The Vinatieri family has been loaded with kickers, highlighted, of course, by Adam on the Colts. But Adam's nephew, Chase, a standout kicker at South Dakota State, certainly seems to be next in that line.

“All in all, I just hope to contribute to my team every week and put up the points I need to, which is doing my job and helping us win.”

Does that sound like Vinatieri? Well, the answer is complicated. Those words come from Chase Vinatieri, the nephew of Adam, who has taken to the family tradition of kicking footballs.

Chase’s father and the oldest of the Vinatieri boys, Chad Vinatieri, started the family tradition by first kicking for Central High School in Sioux Falls, S.D., before attending and kicking for the University of South Dakota. Next came Adam, and then the youngest brother, Beau, who of course kicked for Central High and later on at Black Hills State.

Yet, for Adam, it wasn’t just about kicking from the get-go. In addition to football, he lettered in basketball, soccer, track and wrestling. On the football field, he played quarterback, middle linebacker, kicker and punter.

“I was on the field a lot,” said Vinatieri, whose ability was impressive enough to earn all-state honors after his senior season.

The move from high school to college, well, was not so easy for someone who was used to carrying the load for his team. “It was kind of a big transition going to college,” Vinatieri said. “From being on the field all game every game to only being on the field 10, 12 plays was a big adjustment.”

Chase Vinatieri is now experiencing that same feeling, just as Uncle Adam did 26 years ago. At Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, Chase was a standout wide receiver and kicker. He earned all-state honors as a kicker and received honorable mention all-state honors twice as a wide receiver during his high school career. When he arrived at South Dakota State, he planned to play wide receiver and kicker. However, once Chase had the opportunity to take over as the team’s full-time kicker, he decided to focus his efforts on kicking.

“I came in to college my freshman year doing receiving and kicking,” Chase said. “As the year winded down, our senior kicker left and we needed somebody to step up and take that position, so that’s what I did.”

Adam Vinatieri spends part of his offseason in Indianapolis with Chase and his other nephew — who, surprise, is also a kicker at a small college in Virginia. Adam takes the opportunity to spend time with his family, as well as work on the young kickers’ craft at the Colts facility.

“They’re both college kickers now, and each year I’m seeing a nice progression on their skills, strength, accuracy and all of that stuff,” Adam said. “I can’t take a lot of the credit for that. They’ve got to work their butts off to get good. But it’s fun that they come out and do it with me.”

Chase believes that Adam’s prolific career has certainly had an impact on his decision to be a kicker.

“He’s been in the league ever since I was born, so it’s been a long time. But just growing up watching him, everything that he’s been able to accomplish – it’s really motivated me and I hope to have an opportunity like that one day,” Chase said. “I do look up to him a lot and try to mock what he does just so we’re about the same.”

As for Adam, he’s sure that his career has had an impact on the family’s kicking tradition, as well.

“I suppose probably through my success it’s kind of had everyone in my family want to be a kicker now,” Adam said. While Chase and Adam have both moved on from playing skill positions, the two kickers have still found ways to exhibit their athletic ability on the football field.

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Adam just had to make the throw. With Troy Brown lined up a yard inside the out-of-bounds line as if he was spectating the play, Adam just had to catch and throw the ball across the field to Brown. “You think it’s probably the easiest and probably the hardest all at the same time because the pressure’s on that you just have to make a good pass out there,” Adam said. “I threw it right in his hands. That was one that I told him, ‘Hey, I need to keep that ball; that might be my only touchdown pass in the league.” He was right.



Adam also had the opportunity to chase down one of the fastest players in the league during his rookie season. Herschel Walker ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds. If he sees daylight, he is sure as gone, right? Well, the situation presented itself to Adam, who unfortunately witnessed Walker breaking free into the open field on a kickoff return. “I just thought to myself, ‘Man, I can’t let him get to the end zone,” Adam said. “I took off running and to my surprise, I was slowly gaining ground on him. I just dove and wrapped him up and took him to the ground. Ironically enough, he bounced up and looked and thought it was a safety or a defensive back and saw it was me.”



In a 31-27 victory over Montana State, it was Chase’s turn to make a play with the ball in his hands. South Dakota dialed up a fake field goal. The holder received the snap and pitched it back to Chase, who took off for the right side of the field, made one man miss and cruised into the end zone for a touchdown. Chase references his Uncle Adam, who like him, isn’t afraid to make a play for his team when the opportunity presents itself. “My uncle was athletic, too,” he said. “It might just run in the family. It just kind of all translates to the college level.”



Chase will continue to work on his craft at South Dakota State, where he said he would like to become an All-American, while Adam pushes to become the NFL’s all-time leading scorer.

But for both kickers, the goal remains the same: improve on your craft, put up points and help your team win.

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