Dan Bailey is on the brink of losing his job — maybe.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was generally noncommittal when asked about any player-related situations with answers that weren’t already blatantly obvious Wednesday, replying with a smattering of “we’ll see.” These questions included one about the status of Bailey, who has been unreliable at best in the last two weeks, converting 4 of 6 field goal attempts and 3 of 4 extra-point attempts in Weeks 13 and 14.
Again, Zimmer responded with “we’ll see.”
“I don’t think we have a kicker we can’t depend on,” Zimmer said, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson. “All kinds of guys make mistakes throughout the course of a game.”
Zimmer isn’t wrong about guys making mistakes — human error, naturally — but Bailey’s accuracy issues are enough to call for a potential replacement in today’s results-driven NFL. While defenders might not fill a gap or fit a run block correctly, kickers’ mistakes are out there for everyone to see and criticize at once, and they can change the course of a game.
The Vikings still have a chance to land a wild-card spot, but there’s little room for error with three games left. Minnesota can’t afford to lose a game because its kicker can’t convert.
Bailey’s struggles are a very recent development in 2020, so it’s understandable if Zimmer is reluctant to make a change. He and general manager Rick Spielman seemed to give Bailey a boost of confidence when they released practice squad kicker Tristan Vizcaino on Tuesday, but Minnesota wasn’t simply cutting the only other kicker on its roster.
The Vikings have worked out Chandler Catanzaro and Taylor Bertolet, which is the first step to adding one to the roster — practice squad or active — with COVID-19 protocols prolonging a traditionally quick process.
So, “we’ll see” is not only dependent on the coach’s decision, but also the COVID-19 protocol. Oh, and on Bailey’s performance. It seems as if he’s likely to get at least one more game to prove he’s still worthy of the job.
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