Dan Bailey missed a pair of field goals in the first half Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, leading to a scathing rebuke from Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.
He told NBC’s Michele Tafoya that Bailey wouldn’t attempt another field goal in the game.
Zimmer reportedly vowed Bailey was done
“I am not going to put the game in the hands of a kicker,” Zimmer told Tafoya.
The Vikings’ plan, according to Tafoya, was to go for it on fourth down when Minnesota reached scoring position.
Plan changed pretty quick
That plan didn’t last long, as the Vikings opted to kick a field goal on their first scoring chance in the third quarter. He hit a 37-yarder on fourth-and-16 to give Minnesota a 17-14 lead around halfway through the quarter.
Zimmer’s difficult history with kickers
The Vikings’ 10-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the frigid cold of the 2015-16 playoffs was one of the most devastating in NFL history. Minnesota appeared to have the game played in -6 degree weather won until Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining.
The Vikings cut rookie kicker Daniel Carlson in September after he missed three kicks in a tie against the Packers, leading to the signing of Bailey.
“Did you see the game?” Zimmer quipped when asked why he cut Carlson.
Zimmer’s frustration understandable
So it’s hard to blame Zimmer for having a sensitive spot when it comes to kickers. His outrage at Bailey appeared to be premature and likely stated in an emotional moment. When the realities of a fourth-and-16 situation came up against a short field goal, Zimmer made the rational decision and opted to let Bailey kick the go-ahead score.
And it’s not like the kicks Bailey missed were chip shots. He missed from 48 and 56 yards.
The Vikings went on to a 24-17 win in the game and did not attempt another field goal after Bailey’s third-quarter make. They opted to go for it on fourth-and-two at the Green Bay seven late in the game leading 24-14 when a touchdown and extra point would have made it a three-possession game.
Zimmer implied that Bailey’s job was safe when talking with reporters after the game.
“I have a lot of confidence in this kid,” Zimmer said. “Every day in practice he hits them.”
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