If you are a Vikings fan, you know the pain and the suffering that this article will be about, so before the bad, I wanted to start with the good. The video above is of the good stuff.
The Minnesota Vikings were hosting the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC Championship game. There are two minutes and eleven seconds on the clock, and the Vikings had a seven-point lead. If Andersen makes the kick, the Minnesota Vikings would have earned a trip to Miami Gardens, Florida, for Super Bowl 33. Well, we know Andersen missed the kick, and the Vikings did not go to the Super Bowl. The Vikings fans had their hearts broken, and that streak continues and will continue through the end of time.
Let’s fast forward to September 15th, 2002; the Minnesota Vikings hosted the Buffalo Bills for their first home game of the 2002 season, and yours truly was there for it. Why is this date important? The Vikings Kicker Doug Brien played his last game for the Vikings after that disastrous day. Brien missed two extra points, a field goal, and a kick-off when he was supposed to do a squib kick in the fourth quarter but instead kicked it deep into the return wedge. The squib kick might not have mattered overall, but when your coach or coaches tell you to do something when you have the type of game, Brien had to understand why he was released two days later.
We will fast forward again, this time to January of 2016. The Minnesota Vikings were hosting the Seattle Seahawks for a Wild-Card Playoff game. It was a close game, an extremely close game the Seahawks won 10-9 after Kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in the game. The Vikings would have moved on to Arizona the next week for another game because of the missed field goal; the Vikings season was over. Blair Walsh would stay with Minnesota for the next season; every time he missed a field goal, it seemed like fans wanted him Walsh out. He left for Seattle the next year and retired after the 2017 season.
We now head to week two of the NFL’s 2018 schedule; the Minnesota Vikings are going against Green Bay Packers. The Vikings Rookie Kicker Daniel Carlson missed three field goals that day. The biggest kick that he missed was a 35-yard field goal as time expired in overtime. We now know that some things in life will never change. Why did this game sting Vikings fans so much? It was because the Vikings clawed their way back into the game, and they tied it with 1:14 seconds after a touchdown by Thielen and a successful two-point conversion. The Vikings were so close to winning that game yet so far away. The Vikings released Carlson the next day.
It is now time to fast forward to yesterday, December 13th, 2020. Dan Bailey missed and missed and missed on Sunday when the Vikings went against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Because of those missed kicks, the Vikings lost a potential ten points. The Vikings lost by twelve points, so it’s not all on Bailey, but he is the one who gets the attention for it. The loss will be a huge blow to the Vikings, who might just have been on their way to the NFL Playoffs. Bailey had to attempt those three field goals because the Vikings could not move the ball much at all against Tampa Bay’s Defense. Todd Bowles, the Defensive Coordinator of the Buccaneers, had his players rush nearly 40% of the game. Tampa had six sacks in the game, and that tells you two things. The first is the Head Coach Mike Zimmer or the Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak did not adjust to the situation. The second is that they could not adjust because the Vikings Offensive Line is not particularly good at all, and, The Vikings would still have lost this game.
It’s easy for Vikings fans to blame the Kicker because they are used to the heartbreak that Kickers usually give them.