Meet Your New Vikings Kicker
The chorus clamoring on Twitter for the Vikings to sign Dan Bailey became deafening the day after incumbent kicker Daniel Carlson blew an important Vikings victory over division opponent Green Bay Packers.
Instead, after three chances to put up the three points that would’ve resulted in a win, the Vikings face the Buffolo Bills with an unsatisfying 1-0-1 record.
Bailey, cut by the Cowboys in a cap-related move, is the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history, making 88.2% of the field goals he’s attempted in his career.
That’s a refreshing change from Carlson, who could not hit the proverbial side of a barn, from Kai Forbath, who was iffy on extra points, and from The Blair Walsh Project, who infamously blew advancement in the post season with a missed chip shot.
When Rick Spielman arrived, the roster was set with Ryan Longwell holding down the kicking duties with an 86% field goal completion percentage.
Sometimes guys have blind spots. Denny Green had a fine eye for offensive talent; he wasn’t so great at picking defensive linemen.
Rick Spielman’s blind spot is kickers. Let us count the ways:
- Blair Walsh, 2012-2016
- Kai Forbath, 2016-2018 (88.7% on field goals but he missed extra points)
- Daniel Carlson, (0% on field goals)
- Jeff Locke, who slightly underperformed his punting predecessor, Chris Kluwe
- Locke had to be replaced with Ryan Quigley who was replaced this year with Matt Wile
The problem is not necessarily the revolving door of kickers (though, presumably, you’d like some stability at the postion), so much as the wasting of draft picks on kickers who don’t pan out.
The Vikings used a 6th round pick on Blair Walsh in 2012, a 5th round pick on Jeff Locke in 2013, and they used a 5th rounder to take Carlson.
Believe it or not, the Vikings have had worse kickers.
The Vikings first kicker, Mike Mercer, who played with the team for two years, from 1961-1962, had a field goal percentage of 34.6%.
His successor, Jim Christopherson (could he have a more Minnesotan name?), played for a portion of 1962 and improved over Mercer to 55%.
The Vikings longest-serving kicker, Fred Cox (1963-1977), boasted a field goal percentage of 62%. Here he is nailing a kickoff to the 12 yard line:
Rick Danmeier followed Cox with 66%.
Then the Vikings went and discovered soccer-style kickers and improved the field goal percentages dramatically:
- Benny Ricardo – 75.8%
- Rich Karlis – 79.5%
- Donald Igwebuike – 87.5% (who only lasted a year because he was busted for heroine smuggling!)
With the addition of Dan Bailey, it looks like we’ve shored up the position rather nicely with who will likely be the most accurate kicker in team history.
Bailey signed a one-year contract for a cool $2 million and, according to ESPN 1500’s Matthew Coller, was biding his time waiting for the right fit.
Dan Bailey Highlights Video
I was kind of shocked to find this because, really, who wants to watch a highlight reel of field goals? Nearly 10,000 people, it turns out: