Minnesota Vikings kicker Dan Bailey has, to put it bluntly, not had a fun training camp.
Last season, his first with the Vikings, Bailey was 21-for-28 on field-goal attempts, a paltry 75 percent shot. This has been part of a steep decline in production since 2013, when he made good on 30-of-32 attempts while kicking for the Dallas Cowboys (93.67 percent).
Bailey’s luck has not improved so far during the Vikings’ training camp. He has had trouble hitting his mark for the past two weeks, which has prompted the Vikings to trade for Ravens backup placekicker Kaare Vedvik. Unless Vedvik struggles in the rest of the preseason – and it looks less likely, since he made good four times in the Ravens’ victory over Jacksonville – Dan Bailey has a difficult fight for his position ahead. Besides, the Vikings gave up a fifth-round pick for Vedvik. That’s a big pick to then just drop the player.
Luckily for them, there are some teams in the NFL who have it even worse in the kicking department and would love to snap Bailey up. Here are some trade destinations for the former Pro Bowler.
Ironically, it was only after Dallas cut Bailey that the Cowboys’ kicking unit has been in need of help.
Jason Garrett favored the strong leg of Bailey’s replacement, Brett Maher, as Bailey’s range is shorter than the league average. Unfortunately for Dallas, Maher struggled with accuracy throughout the 2018 season. Though he set a team record by hitting a 62-yard field goal, he made only 23-of-29 from inside 50 yards – a troubling statistic for a kicker playing indoors.
With Maher’s results hardly improving so far during training camp, the Cowboys may be ready to reunite with Bailey.
New York Jets
The Jets are dealing with the loss of Chandler Catanzaro, who unexpectedly retired from the NFL after missing two extra points in their loss to the Giants. With no kickers left on their roster, the Jets quickly signed Taylor Bertolet, whose last pro experience was with the Salt Lake Stallions of the short-lived Alliance of American Football.
However, if the Vikings made Bailey available, New York would probably take the safe route and dump the unproven Bertolet for Bailey.
The Bears have struggled at kicker ever since releasing their all-time leading point-scorer, Robbie Gould, after the 2015 season. Were it not for this weakness, Chicago would have advanced at least one more round in the playoffs last year. Instead, Bears fans have lived with the memory of Cody Parkey’s game-losing “double-doink” throughout the offseason.
Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro are competing for the placekicker role, and so far, Fry is in the front seat after the first preseason game, where he made a late 43-yarder to beat the Panthers – the same distance Parkey missed from against Philadelphia in January. However, if neither option works out, they could always contact their division rival and ask if they have a spare kicker available.