EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings on Monday waived Daniel Carlson and are pursuing another kicker.
Carlson was released after missing three field goals – 48, 49 and 35 yards – at Green Bay on Sunday, including two in overtime.
When asked directly about reports that the Vikings would be signing former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, Vikings Head Coach Zimmer responded, “We’re bringing him in for a physical. We’ll see if we sign him or not.”
Zimmer said it was disappointing that things didn’t work out with Carlson.
“It’s hard to figure out,” Zimmer said. “You think you got a guy for a while, and then he goes out and misses three in a big game. But things happen, I guess.”
Here are four other topics covered by Zimmer during his Monday afternoon session with Twin Cities media:
1. ‘Feels like a loss’
Zimmer was asked his feelings on the Vikings-Packers tie a day removed from the Border Battle.
Minnesota battled back from a two-score deficit to send the game into overtime and prohibited Green Bay from scoring. A missed 35-yard field goal as time expired, however, left the teams with 29 points apiece.
“It feels like a loss,” Zimmer said. “I’m sure [the Packers] probably feel the same way. I don’t know, you’d have to ask them. But there were so many things that happened there, and you got a chance to kick it and win it, and we don’t get it done.
“It feels like a loss,” Zimmer reiterated. “It obviously is way better than a loss, but we play to win. We didn’t get that part of it.”
2. Special teams focus
In addition to Carlson’s rough outing, the Vikings had a punt blocked early in the game that resulted in a Packers touchdown and quick 7-0 lead.
Zimmer was pleased with solid kickoff returns by Mike Hughes (46 yards) and Holton Hill (28 yards) but said special teams need to be tightened.
“We’re going to have to clean it up. I’ve talked to the team about some things, and that I’ll keep within ourselves, but we’ve got to do a better job there,” Zimmer said. “We can’t get a punt blocked. We did have some good returns in the game. We should have fair caught a couple punts that we didn’t – lost about 10 yards on each one. We’ve got to do a better job there, yeah.”
3. Cousins is a competitor
Zimmer spoke highly of Cousins’ second regular-season performance in Purple. The quarterback finished the division matchup 35-of-48 passing for 425 yards, four touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 118.8.
Zimmer was asked if Cousins showed anything “from a competitive standpoint” in the fourth quarter – during which he threw three touchdown passes and a 2-point conversion – that he hadn’t seen before.
“I know he’s a competitor,” Zimmer said. “He played outstanding last week, and everybody was saying he was 0-for-6 in the fourth quarter, and this week he’s 14-of-20 and [three] touchdowns, or whatever it is. Everything is a week-to-week thing.
“I know everybody gets all excited about ‘what this guy didn’t do this week’ or ‘what this guy did this week,’ [but] he’s always been a competitor to me,” Zimmer added. “I thought he played great.”
4. Thielen’s late show of hands
On the late-game touchdown pass to Adam Thielen that set up Minnesota for a 2-point conversion to send the game into overtime, Thielen was able to wait until the last second to “show his hands” and still make the catch.
Zimmer explained how Thielen’s ability to keep his hands low and just in front of him makes it difficult on the defensive back.
“It’s hard, especially you’re running with your back from the quarterback, which a lot of times you are [as a DB],” Zimmer said. “That is something a lot of the good receivers do. It was a great play, great throw, great catch. Kirk got hit pretty close to the knee, even though that is not [legal], either. He made a great throw, and Thielen made a great catch.”