Mike Zimmer did not want to put Sunday’s loss entirely on the shoulders of Dan Bailey, and he noted there were mistakes elsewhere on the field.
But the Vikings head coach certainly expressed his disappointment in the veteran kicker after Minnesota’s 26-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bailey left 10 points on the board, missing three field goals and one extra point for a Vikings team that was knocked out of the current NFC playoff picture with the loss.
Zimmer, as you could imagine, was peppered with questions about Bailey after the game. Chief among them were in regards to what has led to Bailey’s struggles (seven missed kicks in two games) and if the Vikings will bring in someone to replace him.
“I don?t know what those struggles were,” Zimmer told reporters, per the team. “He missed one to the left, pushed three to the right. So, we?ll have to decide that as we go forward.”
Bailey’s missed extra point came after Minnesota took a 6-0 lead following a 14-play drive. His missed field goals — 36, 54 and 46 yards — came after possessions in which the Vikings covered 49 yards in eight plays, 39 yards in seven plays and 50 yards in 12 plays. The last miss came on fourth-and-20, and Zimmer explained if it was a reasonable down-and-distance, he wouldn’t have sent out Bailey in the first place.
“It does let a little bit of air out. You anticipate guys making those kicks,” Zimmer said. “I?m really disappointed. I have a lot of faith in him. I have a lot of confidence in him. But these last two weeks have not been good. I love the kid, he?s a great kid. He?s very even-nature. I don?t know.”
Zimmer does know one thing, though.
“You know, at this point in time, we?re not really worried about feelings anymore.”
We’ll see how it unfolds for the now 6-7 Vikings over the coming days.