MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have kept kicker Dan Bailey for now, despite a troubling run of misses by one of the most accurate specialists in NFL history.
Coach Mike Zimmer declined Wednesday to commit to using Bailey for the upcoming game against Chicago. “We'll see,” was all Zimmer said during a terse video conference call with reporters.
When asked if he anticipated adding another kicker to the roster this week, Zimmer again replied, “We'll see," perhaps more indicative of disinterest in discussing a subject that has roiled him throughout his tenure than of an impending transaction.
Bailey missed all four of his attempts Sunday in a 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay, one extra point and three field goals — from 36, 54 and 46 yards. The week before in a 27-24 overtime victory over Jacksonville, Bailey made the winner from 23 yards and another try from 48 yards, but missed two extra points and a 51-yard field goal.
“I don’t think we have a kicker we can’t depend on. There’s all kinds of guys making mistakes throughout the course of the game," Zimmer said. "But that’s just part of life, part of momentum. There’s ebbs and flows to every game.”
Zimmer, who has overseen four kickers in seven seasons with the Vikings, sounded torn about the decision when speaking more expansively about the issue earlier.
“You have to look at past performances. You have to look at the person,” Zimmer said Monday. “Honestly, I love the kid. If we end up making a change, then it’s about just what we feel at this particular point in time. We are in the performance business."
The Vikings released practice squad kicker Tristan Vizcaino this week and had free agent kicker Chandler Catanzaro in for a tryout. One factor working in Bailey's favor is the league's COVID-19 protocol that requires a six-day testing process for new players entering team facilities.
So the 10th-year veteran, who ranks 11th on the NFL's all-time list in career field goal percentage, is likely to stay on the job for at least another game. Bailey is 12 for 18 on field goals and 27 for 31 on extra points this season, career-low percentages in both categories. He signed a three-year, $10 million contract in the offseason with $6 million guaranteed.
“It was one day. It wasn’t one season or a career. It was one day, and Dan’s done a lot of good things for us this season and made a lot of big-time kicks and through his career has made a lot of big-time kicks," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "So you don’t ever want to make a bigger deal out of one day than it needs to be.”
The availability of linebacker Eric Kendricks for the Bears remains in question, too, with the 2019 All-Pro sitting out of practice Wednesday because of a calf injury that has sideline him for two straight weeks.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph, whose streak of 98 straight games including the playoffs was stopped by a foot injury last week, was also held out. Cornerback Kris Boyd was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, ending his season unless the Vikings make the playoffs.
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