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Vikings sign Rhys Lloyd

Well, the Minnesota Vikings finally have made some noise in free agency.

Kicker Rhys Lloyd has announced on his Twitter page that he’s a Viking. Lloyd will be a kickoff specialist in Minnesota, assuming that coach Brad Childress decides to devote roster spots to two kickers.

Lloyd is a restricted free agent who was not tendered by the Panthers. The Vikings were able to sign him without regard to the “Final Eight Plan,” which applies only to unrestricted free agents.

As the Vikings learned in the NFC title game, having a kicker who can put the ball into the end zone can make a huge difference. Minnesota kick returner Percy Harvin consistently was forced into taking a touchback -- and the Vikings’ inability to do so to start overtime made it easier for the Saints to get in position for the game-winning field goal.