Minnesota Vikings kicker Dan Bailey caught a case of the yips — missing 10 kicks in the final five games — late last season that he won’t have the chance to remedy with the team in 2021.
The Vikings cut Bailey on Tuesday, a move that frees up $1.7 million in cap space as Minnesota continues to trim its roster to get under a deflated salary cap in 2021.
Bailey’s agent tweeted that “although the Vikings wanted to keep Dan Bailey, we were unable to agree to a renegotiated contract. They did not want to pay his current contract so he will be a free agent as of today.”
Joseph is the presumptive starting kicker heading into the 2021 season with no other kickers currently rostered.
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Bailey’s Late-Season Performance Did Not Match His Pay
Bailey was the Vikings’ starting kicker for the past three seasons and signed a three-year, $10 million last March. He converted 80.4% of his field-goal attempts and 90.9% of his extra-point tries in 49 games played in his career in Minnesota.
In what proved to be his final five games as a Viking, Bailey hit on just 58.3% of his field-goal attempts and 72.2% of his extra-point attempts. His struggles were punctuated by a two-week span where he missed four kicks in a 12-point loss to the Buccaneers and three kicks against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Vikings and Bailey’s inability to reach a restructuring of his contract created a rift as Minnesota was due to pay Bailey $1.8 million of his $2.7 million base salary by March 19.
Instead, Minnesota cauterized the wound left from last season and moves on with Joseph.
Joseph Proved Consistent With the Titans
Joseph enters the fourth season of his NFL career with the Vikings. Before joining the Buccaneers last season, Joseph was added and elevated to the Tennessee Titans’ starting kicker role in Week 15 of the 2019 season. In the Titans’ run to the AFC title game, Joseph made all 19 kicks he attempted (18 of which were extra points).
In his rookie year with the Cleveland Browns, Joseph converted 17 of 20 field-goal attempts and 25 of 29 extra points.
Joseph’s track record is dwarfed by Bailey’s career. However, Joseph has proven consistent as of late and is a more affordable option at kicker, agreeing to a one-year, $780,000 contract with a low-risk $35,000 guaranteed, per Chris Tomasson.
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