Alexandria’s Jackson big-time kicker motivated by letter from former Vikings kicker

Alexandria’s Daniel Jackson has strong leg, motivated by former Vikings kicker

Sometimes the biggest weapon on a football team is their biggest leg. Alexandria has junior Daniel Jackson as their kicker. He’s one of the best kickers in the state, and is motivated by letters he exchanged with a former Vikings kicker when he was 10-years-old.

Jackson is known as “the kicker” in Alexandria. He can make deep field goals and send kickoffs through the end zone.

“The other night our opening kick hit the goal post, so he’s got the leg,” said Mike Empting, Alexandria’s head coach.

Jackson’s kicking reputation is growing, he made a 52 yard field goal last week in a Class 5A state quarterfinal victory against Rogers. Last season we drilled a 53 yarder, and in practice he has been successful from 62 yards.

“He has the ball contact, it goes high and it goes far, and it’s pretty,” said Joel Monroe. Jackson’s kicking coach with the Cardinals.

“I just kick the ball through the yellow posts, I kick it through the end zone,” said Jackson. “I mean as a kicker you only get one opportunity, got to make the most of it.”

Jackson has a future in football as a kicker. North Dakota State, Minnesota and Iowa State have already shown interest in his abilities. The motivation getting to this point goes back to when Jackson was 10-years-old after watching a missed field goal by a former Minnesota Vikings kicker.

Many Vikings fans remember Blair Walsh’s missed 27 yard field goal to beat Seattle in the 2015 NFC Wild Card game. That kick got Jackson’s attention.

“I was devastated as a kid. I was like I can make this kick so easy,” said Jackson. “Went outside I had a tape role of 27 yards, tried kicking it myself and I was so bad.”

Jackson took it further, he wrote Walsh a letter saying he still believed in Walsh and that he wanted to be a kicker in the NFL someday.

“A few months later, I get a letter back and it’s crazy,” said Jackson.

Walsh wrote Jackson back, and sent him an autographed card. The letter expressed encouragement to a young Jackson to be a kicker. That launched Jackson’s dream. He started kicking in his backyard all the time, he even built a makeshift goal post to kick at.

“I think there was another level of passion that came with this letter,” said Jackson.

Jackson started to get better and stronger at kicking. On paper he was motivated from a pen pal. On the field, he’s arguably the best high school kicker in Minnesota. He’s another big kick closer to his dream of playing in the NFL.