San Diego Chargers' kicker Nate Kaeding will miss the 2011 NFL season with a knee injury, ESPN's Adam Schefter confirms. Kaeding was carted off the field after the opening kickoff of Sunday's victory over the Vikings with what tests revealed was likely a torn ACL. Punter Mike Scifres filled in, booting a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 17 apiece.
Still, the Chargers could struggle if forced to rely on a punter for their field goal needs this season. Kaeding has been one of the most consistent kickers in the league throughout his eight-year career, having connected on 86.5 percent of his kicks. Expect the Chargers to look towards free agency for a replacement, where names like Clint Stitser and Kris Brown could be in line for a call-up.
For more on the Chargers' kicking situation, head over to the SB Nation blog Bolts From The Blue.