The Vikings placed a veteran on waivers Monday afternoon but it wasn’t the player many expected.
While Dan Bailey was not cut a day after missing an extra point and three field-goal attempts in a 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay, wide receiver Tajae Sharpe was let go as the Vikings activated tight end Hale Hentges from the exempt list. Sharpe, signed to a one-year, $1 million contract during the offseason after three years with Tennessee, appeared in only four games with the Vikings.
He did not catch a pass and was targeted three times, including on a deep shot late in Sunday’s game. Sharpe was behind backup wide receivers Chad Beebe and Bisi Johnson on the depth chart. Hentges, who played college football at Alabama, was signed by the Vikings off the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad last week. He had to clear COVID-19 testing before he could be activated.
As for Bailey’s future, it appears he will remain on the roster. Bailey missed two extra points and a field-goal attempt in the Vikings’ win over Jacksonville in Week 13. His struggles continued on Sunday with a historically poor performance.
From @ESPNStatsInfo: Dan Bailey is 0-of-3 on field goals and 0-of-1 on extra points Sunday.The last player with at least 3 missed field goals and a missed extra point without a make of either was John Aveni for Washington in 1961.
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) December 13, 2020
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who was involved in the decision to release rookie Daniel Carlson after he missed three field-goal attempts against the Packers in Week 2 of 2018 at Lambeau Field, didn’t sound as if he will be jettisoning Bailey. The Vikings do have kicker Tristan Vizcaino on the practice squad and could elevate him. Vizcaino, who played at the University of Washington, has never kicked in an NFL game.
Here are Zimmer’s quotes from Monday on Bailey, including the fact he has not made a decision on who will kick Sunday against the Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Mike Zimmer didn't make it sound like the #Vikings are considering moving on from Dan Bailey, rather possibly making a temporary change at kicker. "We are in the performance business and these last two weeks have not been good." pic.twitter.com/mOqKGpQriD
— Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) December 14, 2020