EAGAN, Minn. — It was Dan Bailey’s name on the press release that came out Wednesday morning saying he had been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
But as far as the Vikings kicker is concerned, it might as well be a three-person recognition.
While Bailey won the award for his perfect performance against the Giants, he said Wednesday in the Vikings locker room that he’s more than happy to share it with holder Britton Colquitt and long snapper Austin Cutting.
“Obviously, it’s an honor. But really, it comes down to the operation,” Bailey said. “I thought we’ve really gotten in a good groove here with me, Britton and Austin. They’ve made my job pretty easy.
“I felt like it was a good game on Sunday and that I was hitting the ball well,” Bailey added. “But the main thing is there’s plenty of football left to be played. You keep this one in your back pocket and enjoy it, but it’s time to move on and keep kicking them through.”
Bailey nailed all four of his field goal attempts, plus a pair of extra points in Minnesota’s 28-10 win over New York.
He started his day with a 31-yarder on the Vikings opening possession, then added kicks from 48 and 32 yards to help Minnesota build an 18-7 halftime lead.
Bailey later capped the scoring with a 45-yard attempt, making it the seventh time in his career he’s made all four of his attempts in a single game.
The 31-year-old also added two extra points to give him 14 total points on the day, which is tied for the second-most in his career. Bailey’s high is 18 points, set back in 2011 when he kicked six field goals in a game while with Dallas.
What made Bailey’s performance even more impressive was that it came at MetLife Stadium, a venue that hasn’t historically been kind to kickers.
“I’ve played up there quite a few times over the years. Unless you get a cold night game, then there’s always some sort of wind going on there,” Bailey said. “You just have to figure it out pregame the best you can and then make the most of it.”
“There was a little bit of a breeze. In that stadium more than any, it swirls. Luckily, it wasn’t too crazy as far as the wind goes,” Bailey added. “I think we played the Jets last year and it was insane … the windiest game I’ve ever played in. You can get the whole gamut up there as far as the weather goes.”
Bailey has now made seven of eight field goals on the season to go along with 11 of 12 extra points.
“He’s doing well,” said Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. “I hope every week he’s the same.”
View exclusive images shot by Vikings team photographer Andy Kenutis as the Vikings and Giants competed against each other in the Week 5 matchup at MetLife Stadium.
Bailey is in his second season with Minnesota, but his first full year with the Vikings after being added to the roster in Week 3 of 2018. He made 21 of 28 field goals in 2018 along with 30 of 31 extra points in 2018.
Bailey’s hot start has raised his career field goal percentage to 86.64, which ranks sixth all-time in NFL history.
This season, he said he feels more comfortable, even if his operation includes two players who weren’t with the team in 2018.
Colquitt, now in his 10th season in the NFL, was added prior to Week 1. Cutting is a rookie who was a seventh-round draft pick out of Air Force, the only long snapper selected in the 2019 NFL Draft.
“I think, more than anything, it was just being here all offseason and going through OTAs, minicamp and training camp,” Bailey said of his own experience. “You just get that work in, you’re around the organization and the guys … just getting that comfortability there.
“And then just us three as far as our operation goes, just trying to dial it in the best we can and make it work,” Bailey added. “You don’t ever want to get too comfortable, but it’s been a good transition for sure.”
Bailey’s weekly honor marked the fourth time he has won it in his career, with the previous three times coming in Dallas.
Of course, it was the first for himself — and Colquitt and Cutting — in Minnesota.
“Obviously, I can’t do what I do without them. They made it pretty easy for me,” Bailey said. “But we’re just going to move on because there’s so much football left to be played.
“I think it’s a positive that we’ve synced up well together,” Bailey added, “but we just have to focus on that and keep moving forward.”