Dan Bailey release puts Vikings back in familiar kicking territory

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dan Bailey
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dan Bailey /

The writing seemed to be on the wall for kicker Dan Bailey after a disappointing and frustrating 2020 season saw him miss more than a fair share of extra points and field goals that potentially cost the Minnesota Vikings some wins.

Bailey only connected on 15 of his 22 field goals last season, giving him a career-low 68.2% conversion rate. He also had a career-low when kicking extra points, making 37 of 43 attempts for 86.0%.

The Minnesota Vikings made Dan Bailey’s release official on Tuesday, posting the news on their official Twitter account.

What does this mean for the Vikings in 2021?

Releasing Bailey will save the team $1.7M against the salary cap. However, Minnesota will still be on the hook for the remainder of his salary. Even though the small amount of savings will come in handy, it has to be disappointing that the kicker couldn’t play out his three-year contract at a solid level.

Minnesota is now in a situation where they need to either look for an established veteran to hold down the job or search for a fresh face to fill the role. The Vikings seemed to be preparing for this release when they signed kicker Greg Joseph on Feb. 11.

Joseph being on the roster does not mean he is the heir apparent to Bailey. Don’t be surprised if the team looks into free agency, the 2021 NFL Draft, or undrafted free agency to bring in for a competition this preseason to ensure they have the best possible option at kicker.

These kicking woes need to stop for the Minnesota Vikings. Watching all these kickers come to Minnesota only to struggle and be released has become an unwelcome trend for the team and one that has cost draft picks, salary cap, time, and points on the scoreboard. Hopefully, the next kicker brought in can finally right the ship and provide stability going forward.