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Vikings Teammates Have Carlson's Back After Rough Day

GREEN BAY, Wisc. – Things didn't go Daniel Carlson's way Sunday afternoon.

The rookie kicker had three chances to make field goals, one in regulation and two in overtime, and pushed all three wide right from distances of 48, 49 and 35, respectively.

"It feels terrible. Obviously I let my team down," Carlson said after the game.

The Border Battle between Minnesota and Green Bay truly felt like a duel. After being down by two scores, the Vikings scratched their way back and executed a 2-point conversion to push the game into overtime.

After missing his first attempt of the extra session from 49 yards out, Carlson had a shot at a 35 yarder with just 4 seconds remaining on the clock. His third miss of the day resulted in a 29-29 tie for the division rivals.

"A credit to [the team] – they fought back time and time again, gave me opportunities, and I just didn't execute at the end of the day," Carlson said. "At least we came up with a tie, but we expect to win that, and I expect to make those kicks to win the game for the team."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was asked after the game if he felt like the team should have gone for the end zone to finish off the game after Carlson's two misses.

"Guys are supposed to do their jobs," Zimmer said. "Maybe I should have, maybe we should have thrown the ball in the end zone a couple times at the end, but I believed that the guy was going to make the kick," Zimmer said. "We put him in the middle of the field. He was dead-smack in the middle.

"And in practice every day, he drills them," Zimmer added. "So that's the disappointing thing to me."

Carlson said he wasn't sure what the issue was with the kicks, particularly the first one that didn't come close to the upright.

"I'm not sure. I really had no idea after that one – I haven't missed a hit like that one in a while, so I'll have to look at it on film and see what happened exactly," Carlson said.

The rookie didn't believe that nerves were a factor in the third attempt.

Carlson said he "felt all right" as he approached the kick that would have been a game-winner.

"It was just a nice, short kick. I was trying to just be relaxed and hit it like any other kick, and obviously I missed right again," Carlson said. "I don't know what it was today, but that was just a rare miss for me. Usually if I'm missing, I know what it was. So we'll just have to look at it and evaluate. I don't think it was really so much mental."

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer communicated with Carlson, Kevin McDermott and Matt Wile on the sideline during the game and worked to keep the trio focused.

Carlson said Priefer wanted to stress after the first two misses that, "We've done this time and time again," and to not overthink the situation.

" 'Just do the things – operation, the height so they can't block it, and just make the kick.' The operation and height was good, but obviously didn't make the kicks today," Carlson said. "We'll have to figure that out. He did a great job of just trying to reset us, and it's on me today."

Carlson said the locker room continued to support him despite the difficult afternoon.

"They did such a great job just keeping me up and were just telling me that they were behind me. It's tough for them because they fought so hard and I let them down. I just have to bounce back and get that confidence and look at what I did, correct that, and not let that happen again.

"The team's disappointed, but a lot of guys have come up to me and just told me to lift my head up, and we'll have lots of games and opportunities in the future," Carlson added.

Everson Griffen spoke after the game and reiterated that he will always be behind his teammates.

The veteran defensive end emphasized, however, the importance of being reliable in one's role.

"At the end of the day, we have his back, and he's gotta make the kicks. That's the bottom line," Griffen said. "I've got his back. It's not going to change, [but] you've just gotta go out there and make them. You're a professional; you've got to do your job. They expected me to do my job on every play, just like they expect [Kirk] Cousins [to do his]. You've gotta do your job.

"He's our dog, and we love him, and he's our teammate, and we're going to do all the right things to build him up and tell him to go out there and kick that thing," Griffen continued. "You've just gotta kick it."

Adam Thielen also responded to Carlson's rough outing.

"All you can really say to him is, 'You know what you can do. You've done it in the past," Thielen said. "You're going to have growing pains. When I was a rookie, I was terrible. You have to learn from it and build on it. If you use those negatives and turn it into positives, you can have a really good career in this league."

Linval Joseph said the game was a learning experience for Carlson but that "hopefully it won't happen again" moving forward.

Carlson wasn't the only aspect of special teams that struggled Sunday.

In his second game for Minnesota, Wile punted four times and averaged 51 yards per punt.

His first punt, however, was blocked by Geronimo Allison and recovered by Josh Jackson in the end zone for a touchdown to give Green Bay an early 7-0 lead out of the gate.

"A guy lined up on the outside and twisted inside, and they grabbed our center and pulled him to the ground, which they're not supposed to do," Zimmer explained.

"We almost had a punt blocked last week, we got one this week," Zimmer said. "We're going to be cranking on special teams [this week]."

Carlson said he personally plans to rebound from a poor performance.

"We have a long season ahead, and hopefully lots of big wins and big kicks in my future," Carlson said. "I just want to … help the team as long as I can."

Stefon Diggs, who scored two touchdowns and the 2-point conversion in Sunday's tie, will continue to be in Carlson's corner.

"It's a hard position to be in, but we support him. That's my guy," Diggs said. "Regardless of how it unfolds, it's never one guy's fault. It's a team sport. He's wearing the same color jersey as me, so under the bus he'll never go."