After Minnesota Vikings kicker Dan Bailey’s complete unraveling on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the call has been made for a new kicker to enter the fold of a franchise that has been haunted by kicking woes.
Bailey missed three field goals and an extra point in the 26-14 loss in Tampa Bay, adding to the two extra points and field goal he missed two weeks ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He redeemed himself by converting a 23-yard chip shot to clinch a win over the Jaguars in overtime, however, after his performance on Sunday that could have potentially shanked the Vikings’ playoff hopes, Bailey may be broken as his kicking miscues reached threat level Schefter — becoming nationwide news from the ESPN reporter who’s known for breaking roster moves the moment they happen.
Vikings’ K Dan Bailey has missed four kicks that would have accounted for 10 points today.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 13, 2020
It remains to be seen how the Vikings will address the issue, but an ex-college kicker and viral YouTuber has already called for the Vikings to give him a tryout.
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Ex-CFL Kicker Hits 61-Yard Field Goal
Donald De La Haye, a former kickoff specialist at the University of Central Florida (UCF), wrote on his Instagram story: “@Vikings I will literally fly to Minnesota tomorrow if y’all need me.”
After two full seasons at UCF, De La Haye was told by the NCAA to delete or demonetize his Youtube channel, where he posts videos of football skits and trick shots, to stay eligible as the NCAA forbids student-athletes from profiting off their athletic ability while under scholarship.
Forced to choose between football and his passion for making videos, De La Haye maintained his channel that he started when he was a teenager at the cost of his scholarship and college football career.
He’s continued to advocate for an NFL team to sign him through his videos. De La Haye got his shot at professional football when the Canadian Football League Toronto Argonauts signed him in May 2019. He appeared in both preseason games, making his lone field-goal attempt and recording a punt for 46 yards.
De La Haye was signed to the team’s practice squad, but due to limits on American players on the roster, the Argonauts placed him on the suspended list to allow him to be free of team obligations and still make videos, De La Haye said in a video he made in 2019.
He posted a video a month ago of him converting a kick with ease from 61 yards out, telling fans to “tag an NFL team that needs a kicker.”
While the 61-yarder is impressive, it also fits in De La Haye’s wheelhouse as a former kickoff specialist. The following two videos better demonstrates his accuracy, nailing the crossbar on a soccer post and kicking a long ball in line with a receiver across a playing field.
Here’s a compilation of several other trick shots from De La Haye.
Mike Zimmer Addresses Vikings Kicking Situation Moving Forward
Despite one of the most frustrating games of a season that’s been full of perplexing losses for the Vikings, coach Mike Zimmer remained relatively reserved when asked how to handle Bailey moving forward.
“At this point in time, we’re not really worried about feelings anymore,” Zimmer said in a postgame press conference. He added “if you guys want me to fire guys for making a mistake here or a mistake there, I wouldn’t have any players,” The Athletic’s Chad Graff reported.
It remains to be seen if Bailey will kick against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Practice squad kicker Tristan Vizcaino could be elevated to the 53-man roster this week and given an in-game opportunity if Bailey cannot recover from his dismantling against the Buccaneers, or the Vikings could field other kickers in for tryouts this week.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.