Bailey Not the Vikings Kicker Yet
Enjoy a Monday notes column on the Vikings, Gophers, Wild and MIAC.
Hysteria was rampant among Vikings followers after rookie kicker Daniel Carlson missed three field goals in yesterday’s 29-29 tie with the Packers. Among the misses was a 35-yarder in overtime that looked like a “gimme” for the 23-year-old kicker.
Carlson made a 48-yard field goal in Minnesota’s opening win against the 49ers a week ago Sunday. So he was at 25 percent on field goals as of this afternoon when the Vikings announced they cut him from the roster.
At his Monday news conference heard on KFAN-FM, head coach Mike Zimmer said the team will be ordering a physical for Carlson’s likely replacement, 31-year-old former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey. He is an 88.2 percent career kicker over seven seasons with the Cowboys.
“We’ll see if we sign him or not,” Zimmer said.
The Vikings used a fifth round 2018 draft pick on Carlson, the former Auburn All-American. Minnesota made him the highest drafted kicker in franchise history. The Vikings were attracted to the 6-foot-5 Carlson’s big kicking leg and credentials that included the second best percentage for field goals at 50+ yards in NCAA history (13 of 21).
“That’s life,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know. It’s hard to figure out. You think you got a guy for awhile and then he goes out and misses three in a big game. But, you know, things happen, I guess.”
Carlson was 6 of 6 on PAT’s this season, and he never missed an extra point at Auburn. Conversions were an issue for 31-year-old Kai Forbath who Carlson beat out for the placekicking job with the Vikings this summer. Forbath only made 48 of 56 PAT’s during his Vikings career.
Forbath converted on 12 of 14 field goals between 30 and 39 yards last regular season. He hit six of seven from 40 to 49 yards for the Vikings.
Another change the Vikings personnel decision makers might be considering is replacing Laquon Treadwell when the offense has three wide receivers on the field. Treadwell, a 2016 first round draft choice, has made slow progress in his career. Yesterday he had his first ever NFL touchdown reception, but he also didn’t catch some passes including one that almost cost Minnesota the game.
The Vikings today signed wide receiver Aldrick Robinson who is in his seventh NFL season. He has played with four other NFL teams including the Redskins when Kirk Cousins was the quarterback there before joining the Vikings.
“He’s a fast guy,” Zimmer said. “(He) makes some deep ball plays, and Kirk throws a great deep ball as you saw the other day.”
The Vikings are the third youngest team in the NFL, according to opening day roster information from the NFL. At an average of 25.47 years, the Vikings rank behind the Browns at 25.19 and the Bengals at 25.38.
Only the Browns at 3.21 average years of NFL experience per player, have a lower figure than the Vikings at 3.49.
It was 57 years ago today, September 17, 1961, that rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton led the Vikings to the franchise’s first ever win, a 37-13 upset victory over the Bears at Metropolitan Stadium in the opening game of the season.
Dan O’Brien told Sports Headliners redshirt Gophers sophomore safety and punt returner Antoine Winfield Jr., who already this season has twice been a Big Ten Player of the Week, was under recruited coming out of high school in Texas because of his short stature, maybe 5-foot-10. O’Brien was Winfield’s defensive backfield coach two years ago. During the summer of 2016 word came in from teammates during captain’s practices that Winfield was impressive for a true freshman, after being ranked only a two-star recruit by Rivals.com while in high school.
Winfield had an impressive 31-yard punt return and recovered a fumble in Saturday’s Gopher win over Miami (Ohio). O’Brien, who was part of the Jerry Kill–Tracy Claeys coaching era at Minnesota, is 3-0 in his first season as head coach at St. Thomas Academy.
Minnesota has won 19 of its last 20 nonconference home games, but only one was against a Power Five team. The Gophers defeated the Pac-12’s Oregon State in 2016 at TCF Bank Stadium. The one home loss came against No. 2 ranked TCU of the Big 12 in 2015.
The Gophers will make program history next season with the longevity and experience of two redshirt senior running backs—Shannon Brooks in his fifth year and Rodney Smith in his sixth. Are they the best running backs in program history to play together? No, that distinction goes to Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney.
Jacob Herbers, with deftly placed punts inside the Miami 10-yard line, was the “Player of the Game,” according to Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck talking on WCCO Radio’s Sports Huddle yesterday.
Fleck indicated on the program he doesn’t expect quarterback Zack Annexstad’s ankle injury suffered in the Miami game to sideline him for next Saturday’s Big Ten opener at Maryland.
Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, 66, had his third hip surgery last week and is planning a fourth.
As usual, the Wild’s fortunes on the ice will have much to do with the availability and performance of their well-paid two-some of forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter. General manager Paul Fenton told Sports Headliners that Parise, coming off of a sternum injury, will participate in the preseason schedule that opens tonight in Winnipeg. Suter, who missed the playoffs because of a severe ankle injury, might not play in the exhibition games.
“The plan is to have him (Suter) back for the opener,” Fenton said. “He’s going to be cleared here to be able to practice, so let’s just get him into the shape that he needs to be in. We’ve got until October 4th for him to be ready.”
With another school year starting, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference reports that more than 7,300 students at its member schools are expected to compete in athletics and over 70 percent are Minnesota natives.