Minnesota Vikings kicker Dan Bailey is on pace for by far the least amount of field goals of his career. That’s just fine with him.
While he’s only 8 for 10 on field goals this season, Bailey knows his low number of attempts is a result of his teammates converting at a top-tier rate in the red zone. In fact, the Vikings boast the NFL’s highest touchdown percentage in the red zone, finding paydirt 78 percent of the time.
“It has been kind of weird,” Bailey said. “I’m usually not used to not kicking this much.”
There was a stretch this season where he went three games without even attempting a field goal. He also didn’t attempt a field goal in Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
In that sense, Bailey noted how the operation has been aided by the fact the extra point is longer than it used to be. That change was instituted a few seasons back, making it a tougher 33-yard kick rather than a nearly automatic 20-yard kick. He’s 24 for 25 on extra points this season with his only miss coming as a result of a bad snap by former long snapper Austin Cutting.
“It’s definitely helped with that,” Bailey said. “I remember before it was pretty much a go-out-there-and-go-through-the-motions type of deal to some respects because it was such a short kick.”
This weekend Bailey will go up against Carolina Panthers kicker Joey Slye. He has arguably the strongest leg in the league, attempting a 67-yard field goal earlier this season that had more than enough power, missing only because it sailed wide of the goalposts.
“That would’ve been pretty cool if he would’ve knocked that down,” Bailey said. “He’s got to have one of the strongest if not the strongest leg out there. That would’ve been pretty cool for him.”
It wouldn’t have been as cool for Bailey’s teammate Britton Colquitt, who is currently in the record books as the holder on the longest field goal in league history. He was the holder for the Denver Broncos when kicker Matt Prater converted a 64-yard field goal.
“For sake of the old pal Britton I’m kind of glad it didn’t go in,” Bailey said. “That he can keep his spot in the hall of fame for a little bit longer.”
As for Bailey, even though he definitely won’t be attempting a field goal of that length anytime soon, he’s diligently preparing for whatever comes next.
“I’m still ready,” Bailey said. “The rhythm still feels good. Who knows? We might have 20 field goal attempts in these last month and a half. It works like that sometimes. You just have to stay ready and be ready to go.”