Sitting at home on Sunday, Dan Bailey watched an afternoon of football games pivot on missed field-goal attempts and knew his phone could start ringing quickly.
Less than 24 hours later, he was on his way to Minnesota for a physical and workout, which led to him signing a one-year, $2 million deal with the Vikings on Tuesday after the team released rookie Daniel Carlson. On Wednesday, before he took the field for his first practice as the Vikings’ new kicker, Bailey took a moment to empathize with Carlson and former Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez, the two young players who had just fallen off the NFL’s kicking tightrope.
“It was tough to watch; I wish I was out there. In the same breath, I know what those guys are going through,” Bailey said. “I’ve had games like that before. It’s tough. It’s hard to fix that in the moment when you’re young and haven’t seen a lot of ball. On one hand, I was looking at it as an opportunity, but I never wish bad on anybody at our position. Your heart just goes out to guys like that when they have a day like that because it’s tough.”
Bailey, the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history, lost his job in Dallas at the end of training camp as the Cowboys made a move to save money, but he’d also struggled in 2017, missing four games because of a groin injury and hitting only 75 percent of his kicks.
“I haven’t had any injuries throughout my career, so that was my first time dealing with that,” he said. “I’m not going to say I came back too soon. I think I was definitely ready to go back out and compete. I think maybe the rhythm was skewed a little bit, just taking that time off and then trying to jump right back in to being at the top of my game. … When I was healthy, I felt like I performed really well. I’ve tried to focus more on that and carry that into the offseason. I thought I had a really good offseason, good camp, so I’m excited to move forward.”
Cook, Griffen miss practice
Running back Dalvin Cook, who said he left Sunday’s game in Green Bay because of cramps in his hamstring, did not practice Wednesday after going through warmups drills. After practice, Cook said he’s “just taking it day by day” and he’ll “see how it’s feeling by the end of the week.”
Defensive end Everson Griffen also missed practice because of a knee injury, and tackle Rashod Hill (ankle), tight end David Morgan (knee) and punt returner Marcus Sherels (chest) all sat out. Center Pat Elflein was a full participant in practice for the first time this year, though he continued to work with backup quarterback Trevor Siemian in individual drills while Brett Jones worked with Kirk Cousins.
Don’t dwell on drops
After catching his first NFL touchdown pass Sunday, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell had a pair of costly second-half drops, including one that turned into an interception after it bounced off his hands. The key to helping Treadwell move on from a rocky performance, Cousins said, is not to focus on it with him.
“I think you just get right back on the practice field, throw him the football, and in a lot of ways, act like nothing happened,” Cousins said. “Let’s just get back to work. We don’t need to dwell on it. I think it’s something we can just move on from. We don’t have to dwell on it a whole lot.”
Robinson, Cousins reunited
After coming to Washington together in 2012 as part of the same Redskins draft class, Cousins and Aldrick Robinson reunited in Minnesota this week when the Vikings signed him to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum salary.
Robinson, who worked out for the Vikings on Sept. 7, credited Cousins for helping him land in Minnesota.
“We have history together. He’s one of the main reasons why I’m here also,” Robinson said. “He tells all the guys that I was available, and I did my part.”
David Parry was cut to make a roster spot for Tom Johnson.