Minnesota Vikings: 5 players who need to step up in 2019

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes /
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(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Dan Bailey /

Dan Bailey – K

When scanning the Vikings’ current roster, it is surprising to find only one kicker among the 90 players that teams are allowed to carry at this time.

This has been a position of peril for Minnesota for quite some time. For the long-suffering Vikings fans, it goes back to the 1998 NFC Championship when Gary Anderson missed his one and only field goal of the entire year, and it cost the team a trip to the Super Bowl.

Recent kicking concerns manifested themselves in the 2015 Wild Card playoff game between Minnesota and the Seattle Seahawks.

That season, Blair Walsh converted 87.2 percent of his kicks and made all nine of his kicks from 20 to 30 yards. With the Vikings needing just a 27-yard field goal to defeat the Seahawks, Walsh missed wide right.

To that point, Walsh was good on 85.2 percent of his kicks. In 2016 he struggled, seeing his conversion rate drop to 75 percent and he was gone after nine games.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

Kai Forbath finished the 2016 season converting all 15 of his kicks. Despite converting 84.2 percent of this field goals in 2017, Forbath struggled on extra points, missing five of 39 and the Vikings eventually moved on from him in 2018.

Minnesota drafted Daniel Carlson in the fifth round last year and promptly gave him the job over Forbath. Carlson struggled mightily, costing the Vikings a win at Green Bay in Week 2 by missing three field goals in a game that ended in a 29-29 tie.

Quickly moving on, Minnesota signed Dan Bailey to take over in Week 3. Prior to signing with the Vikings, Bailey spent seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. After his fifth season, he made the Pro Bowl.

At the time he converted 90.6 percent of his field goals and 99 percent of his extra points—then things started to decline. Over the next two seasons, his conversion rate dropped to 80.8 percent. A groin injury in 2017 limited him to 12 games and Bailey found himself without a job in 2018.

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Last season Bailey made only 21 of his 28 field goal attempts for the Vikings. His 75 percent conversion rate matched the lowest in his career. It will be interesting to see how long he lasts this season if he struggles early.