MINNEAPOLIS — After watching Dan Bailey miss two field-goal attempts in the opening half against Green Bay on Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya that he had seen enough from his kicker.
Zimmer said he would not put the game “in the hands of the kicker” in the second half and would be going for it on fourth down. But Zimmer had either calmed down, or thought better of that idea, by the time a Vikings drive stalled at the Green Bay 19-yard line in the third quarter with the score tied at 14.
Bailey, who had missed wide left from 48 yards in the second quarter and wide right from 56 yards to end the opening half, trotted on the field and knocked a 37-yard field-goal attempt through the uprights to give the Vikings a three-point lead in what became a 24-17 victory.
“I was frustrated but I was going to be aggressive in this ballgame,” Zimmer said when asked about his comment to Tafoya after the game. “I don’t think you beat teams by being passive. So I was going to be aggressive anyway. … Everyone was frustrated because he missed two kicks, but I have a lot of confidence in this kid.”
Bailey was unaware of Zimmer’s comment to Tafoya and did not want to address it when told what his coach had said. “I’m not going to comment on what the head coach … his philosophy, that’s not my place to comment on,” Bailey said.
Bailey, 30, was signed by the Vikings after rookie Daniel Carlson missed three field goals in a Week 2 tie against the Packers at Lambeau Field. That cost Carlson, a fifth-round pick, his job and resulted in the Vikings turning to a more reliable veteran. Bailey is now 15-of-20 on field-goal attempts with the Vikings this season and 19-of-20 on extra-point attempts.
“I think having a little bit of experience actually helps,” Bailey said of getting through his rough night. “I think it can go either way but sometimes it just happens that way. You don’t want to dissect it too much but sometimes they just don’t go in. I had a great week of practice. I’ve really had a great couple week of practice. For whatever reason, it just didn’t work out this evening but, obviously, we’ll take a look at it and get it fixed. We’ve got five games moving forward so plenty of time to get it right.”
While Bailey’s 48-yard miss was disappointing, the 56-yarder was a big ask. Bailey was supposed to attempt the kick from 51 yards but it was moved back after a false start penalty on the Vikings’ Rashod Hill. Bailey was then run into and fell to the ground after the 56-yard attempt, leaving some upset that no penalty was called on the Packers.
Bailey made 88.2 percent of his field goals (186-of-211) during his first eight seasons with Dallas, making him one of the most accurate place kickers in NFL history. The Cowboys, however, decided to cut Bailey just before the regular season and kept Brett Maher.
Bailey signed with a Vikings organization that has plenty of history when it comes to its kickers and much of it isn’t good.
“Everybody keeps bringing that up,” Bailey said when asked about the past kicking woes in Minnesota. “To be honest with you, it’s a non-factor for me. Obviously, I recognize what’s gone on here in the past. I’ve paid attention to that kind of stuff, but it really has nothing to do with me at all. It doesn’t affect any kicks that I make or I miss, that’s all on me, so it really doesn’t matter what’s happened here in the past. I’ve got to do my thing and go out there and try to put them through. I didn’t do that to my standard tonight, but I’ve got plenty of time moving forward to get it fixed.”