The Minnesota Vikings continue to play Russian Roulette with their kickers while an adequate solution sits on the free-agent market.
The Minnesota Vikings have been cursed at the kicker position throughout their existence. We’ve talked at length at how Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh belong in the darkest wing of Vikings history. But even after over 30 years since Anderson derailed Minnesota’s hopes of going to the Super Bowl, the Vikings are still playing Russian Roulette at the kicker position.
The last two chapters of this drama have been comical as Minnesota has used fifth-round picks in back-to-back offseasons to try and fix this.
After Bailey shanked a slew of practice kicks during this year’s training camp, Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman couldn’t help himself and he burned another draft pick on a kicker, acquiring Kaare Vedvik from the Baltimore Ravens.
Although Vedvik has been hailed as a potential hero for the Vikings’ kicking woes, he proved to be just as ineffective when putting on a purple jersey, shanking field goals from 43 and 54 yards in Minnesota’s preseason win over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.
The result has been maddening and Vikings fans can’t even march to the fridge to grab a drink without thinking that the points that they thought were on the board might not be there when they come back. At this point in the preseason, there’s not much they can do because it’s not like there is a former Pro Bowl kicker on the free-agent market.
Oh, wait. There is!
Matt Bryant was released by the Atlanta Falcons earlier this offseason and the best part is nobody really knows why.
The 44-year old was effective in 2018 with the Falcons, nailing 20-of-21 field goal attempts (95.2 percent) and 33-of-35 extra points (94.3 percent). In fact, this has been a great three-year run for Bryant, who has converted on 90.7 percent of his field goal attempts and 97.6 percent of his extra points.
Atlanta is finding out just how difficult life without Bryant is at the moment as Giorgio Tavecchio has gone 4-for-8 on field goals this preseason and the team has resorted to signing Blair Walsh over bringing Bryant back.
As Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff may find out, pride is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s much easier when your kicker is shanking kicks left and right. Spielman has the chance to do the same to fix his current special teams disaster.
Despite coughing up a draft pick to get Vedvik, he’s been effective as the punter this preseason, which could make Matt Wile expendable. By giving Bryant a call, it would be a huge upgrade over Bailey, who has made just 75 percent of his kicks over the past two seasons.
Sure, it wouldn’t be a long-term solution, but with a head coach that has the same urge to treat kickers like the final scene of Old Yeller after a missed extra point, there are worse things they could do.
Until then, the Vikings might as well own their futility because with this team, it’s not just a field goal, it’s an adventure.