MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has not talked with Dan Bailey since Sunday’s 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay, and there hasn’t been a decision made on his status with the team.
Bailey missed an extra point and went 0-for-3 on field goals against the Buccaneers on Sunday. If he makes all four, the Vikings have a lead in the fourth quarter in a game that would’ve significantly helped their NFC Playoff chances. Instead, they flew home 6-7, and need to win their last three games to keep postseason hopes alive.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, the Vikings are not at TCO Performance Center until Wednesday, when they start preparation for the Chicago Bears. That will likely be when Zimmer and Bailey talk, and a decision is made.
“I haven’t made the decision yet. I’d prefer to address the team about these things as opposed to throwing it out there in the media,” Zimmer said Monday.
It’s been a rough two weeks for Bailey, who has now missed seven kicks the last two games. He made 28 straight extra points from September 2019 to this past October. Entering Sunday’s game, he had made 26 of his last 27.
After missing three field goals on Sunday, Bailey is 60-of-75 for his two-plus seasons in Minnesota. He’s 18-of-19 from 20-29 yards out, 23-of-24 from 30-39 yards, 13-of-22 from 40-49 yards and 6-of-10 from 50-plus yards out. He’s one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, but the last two weeks leave questions about his future with the Vikings.
“Honestly I love the kid. If we end up making a change, then it’s about just what we feel at this point in time. We are in the performance business, these last two weeks hasn’t been good. If I cut everybody that made mistakes yesterday, we’d all be out of here, including me,” Zimmer said. “It’s all you can do, go with your gut, make the decision that you believe in and go with it. You’re the ones that second guess everything.”
If the Vikings do make a change, the logical choice is back-up kicker Tristan Vizcaino. He’s currently on the practice squad after the Jaguars claimed Chase McLaughlin. In one college season at Washington in 2017, Vizcaino was 12-of-19 on field goals and 48-of-51 on extra points. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2019 preseason, going 4-of-7 on field goals and making three extra points. He’s never kicked in an NFL game.
The Vikings could bring in an outside kicker to replace Bailey, but they would have to quarantine and would go into the Bears’ game without any practice reps.
Zimmer not happy about defensive penalties
The Vikings had three costly defensive penalties Sunday, resulting in 10 points for Tampa Bay, and Zimmer is not happy about any of the calls.
Harrison Smith was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on LeSean McCoy after a third down stop. Two plays later, Jeff Gladney had an interception that could’ve been returned for a touchdown negated by pass interference. The Buccaneers got a touchdown out of it.
Tampa also got a pass interference call on a Hail Mary, which turned into a field goal. Does Zimmer want reviews for pass interference back in the NFL?
“No. It was a mess last year. We’ve got a bunch of things we’ll turn into the league and see what they say,” Zimmer said.