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Bailey Bounces Back from Tough Start, Hits Clutch 52-Yarder

Dan Bailey could have been rattled, but instead he rebounded.

The Vikings kicker got off to a tough start against the Eagles when a 28-yard field goal attempt pinged off the left upright rather than giving Minnesota an early lead.

Minnesota's defense forced a Philadelphia three-and-punt, and Bailey got another shot on the following drive when the Vikings were stopped on third-and-1 just inside the Eagles 20. This time, Bailey executed from 37 yards out.

Bailey missed a second time early in the second quarter, this time pulling a 45-yard attempt wide right, and then made a 22-yarder in the third quarter.

But when the game came down to the wire and all eyes were on Bailey, he put the ball right down the middle in the name of redemption and provided Minnesota's final points in a 23-21 win.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Vikings clung to a 6-point lead and were unable to get into the end zone. Bailey stepped onto the field, stepped back and swung through – the 52-yard field goal was good, and Minnesota regained some breathing room.

"Fortunately and unfortunately, I've been in that situation before," Bailey told media members after the game. "It's just a matter of staying balanced, not getting too high or getting too low, and sure enough an opportunity comes up at the end, and you've gotta be ready for it.

"When you have a day like that, you try to take emotion out of it. I thought I did a good job of that," Bailey said, adding that punter Matt Wile and long snapper Kevin McDermott – along with other teammates on the sideline – kept him in good spirits after the pair of misses.

The crunch-time kick marked Bailey's sixth made field goal – of eight total attempts – since the former Cowboy signed with the Vikings on Sept. 18. He has made all four of his PATs.

Minnesota started the season with rookie Daniel Carlson, who beat out Kai Forbath for the job during the preseason. But after Carlson missed three field goals, including two in overtime, in the Vikings division battle against the Packers, Carlson was released.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was asked postgame about his reaction to Bailey's two misses.

"It's funny because I think I've seen him miss one kick in practice," Zimmer said. "You know, he missed those two early, but there was none bigger than that one right there because it put us up two scores."

Added Zimmer: "For him to make that kick is really why we brought him here."

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was asked if he said anything to Bailey to encourage him on the sideline. While he didn't talk to him during the game, Cousins said he has a common message to anyone who wishes they could take a play or two back:

"[I tell] anybody: 'Hey man, this is a tough game. I've failed at this game more than I care to admit. You'll fail. We just have to accept it and not allow it to affect the next one.' And he didn't," Cousins said. "He hit the game-winner, really. It's so important, that when the mistakes do happen, you don't let it snowball. You have to say, 'The buck stops here,' and get back to work."

Bailey now has made 28 career field goals from 50 yards or farther.

He said the one in Sunday's game was "pretty straightforward" and that winds had died down over the course of the game.

"Obviously we knew what needed to be done there," said Bailey.

Just before the Vikings lined up for the attempt, a timeout was taken for Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones, who was injured on the previous play.

"[An injury isn't good], but having a little bit of extra time to just kind of be out there and focus in, I think that was good for me," Bailey said. "Probably the best operation of the night as far as all three of us – the snapper, holder and me – so it was just a matter of putting it through, and luckily we did that."

Bailey, who spent seven reliable seasons in Dallas, said he'll have to go back to the tape and evaluate the pair of unsuccessful kicks, particularly the 28-yard chip shot.

"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," Bailey explained. "I mean, it's something going on that maybe I let slip or something, you know, which I'm usually pretty good about. So yeah, disappointing.

"The main thing is, we got the win. And I thought it was a good team win," Bailey continued. "For me, it's just, I don't know why I have to do it to myself sometimes like that, but just put more pressure on myself than I need to. But like I said, it's just about staying balanced and making the next one if you get the opportunity."

The three points at the end of the game helped the Vikings finish out the game and move to 2-2-1 on the season.

Bailey said there was something special about his first victory in Purple.

"It feels good. Winning always feels good. Even more so for this team – it's just a bunch of guys that fight, and that was apparent to me from the first day I got in here," Bailey said. "This locker room is a great locker room with a bunch of guys that just keep fighting no matter what the situation is. Obviously in my opinion that was on display again tonight, and I'm just happy to be a part of it."