Adam Vinatieri takes latest step; still hopeful of kicking vs. Raiders

Adam Vinatieri #4 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts after missing an extra point in the game against the Buffalo Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 21, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The latest and most important step on Adam Vinatieri’s attempt at being available for Sunday’s road trip to Oakland took place Thursday on the Indianapolis Colts’ practice field.

The veteran placekicker, who aggravated a right groin injury last weekend against Buffalo, went through early warmups and field-goal drills.

On the plus side, there appeared to be no obvious discomfort as Vinatieri knocked down more than a half-dozen kicks.

Prior to practice, he remained cautiously optimistic. Vinatieri mentioned he’s been spending between five and six hours a day with the training staff.

“Doing all right,’’ he said. “We’ve been in the training room a ton, just doing everything we can to get back on the field as quickly as possible. Testing it today and see how it is.’’

His prediction for the Raiders game?

“If I had a crystal ball,’’ he replied with a smile, “I’d be playing these lotteries a lot more than I am. We’ve taken every step in the right direction, spent a lot of time with (director of sports medicine) Erin Barill in the training room, doing everything we can to give myself just a little bit more chance to get out there.

“If we’re good to go, we’re going to go. If not, we’ll find a way to make it go.’’

Earlier in the week, the team had tryouts with free-agent kickers Cairo Santos, Kai Forbath and Taylor Bertolet. A short-term replacement will be signed if Vinatieri misses his first game because of injury since 2009.

Vinatieri will have a much better idea on his status following Thursday’s practice.

“It’ll be easy to say ‘no’ if it’s not right,’’ he said. “And if it feels pretty good, we’ll keep going forward.’’

It’s worth noting Vinatieri needs 5 points to surpass Morten Andersen (2,544 points) and become the NFL’s all-time scoring leader.

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