PHILADELPHIA – Sunday afternoon wasn’t the first time kicker Dan Bailey had kicked under pressure in the hostile environment of Lincoln Financial Field.
As a member of the Dallas Cowboys, he kicked in Philly five different times before this week’s game and went 7-for-8 on field goals. So following his two early misses, Bailey was still prepared to kick the most important ball of the game— and the hardest — from 52 yards to put the dagger in the back of the Eagles.
”When you have a day like that, you try to take the emotion out of it and I thought I did a good job of that,” Bailey said after the Vikings’ 23-21 win. “Fortunately and unfortunately I’ve been in that situation before and it’s just a matter of staying balanced.”
The Minnesota Vikings have had all sorts of kicking issues over the past few seasons, including earlier this year when rookie Daniel Carlson missed three in one game, including a potential game winner against the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings brought in Bailey with hopes of stability at the position, but he surprisingly missed a 28-yarder in the first quarter.
“Disappointing,” Bailey said. “It’s one of those things I’m going to have to look at on film because it’s usually something technical when it’s that close. Maybe I let it slip or something, which I’m usually pretty good about…the main thing was we got the win.”
Bailey missed another attempt from 45 yards but came back to hit his final two. He was assisted on the 52-yarder with 2:47 left in the game by an injury delay.
”Having a little bit of extra time, you can be out there and focus in, I think that was good for me,” Bailey said.
Head coach Mike Zimmer hasn’t had much luck with kickers during his tenure in Minnesota. He was as surprised as anyone that Bailey did not connect on his first two.
“It’s funny because I think I’ve seen him miss one kick in practice,” Zimmer said. “And he missed those two early but there was none bigger than [the fourth quarter field goal] because it put us up two scores. For him to make that kick is really why we brought him here.”