Beware, Vikings fans with open wounds. The following sprinkle of salt might sting.
As an Oakland Raider, Daniel Carlson is making 90.9 percent of his field-goal attempts with a successful streak of nine and one AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honor.
Yes, that Daniel Carlson. The same Daniel Carlson the Vikings drafted in the fifth round and released the morning after he went 0-for-3 and missed a 35-yarder as overtime expired in a 29-29 tie at Green Bay in Week 2.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “Some of the things I know they’ve been talking about with his technique, that’s what we did here. [His approach] was really long when he got here, and we worked really hard all spring and all summer long on making him a compact approach.”
Carlson missed two kicks in overtime of the Packers tie.
As a Raider, he is 1-for-1 from 50 yards or more, 3-for-3 from 30-39 yards and 14-for-14 on point-after attempts.
Meanwhile, Dan Bailey, his replacement, has made 69.6 percent of his field-goal attempts (16 of 23) and 21 of his 22 PATs.
“I think [Carlson] had one bad game and it was more mental than physical,” Priefer said. “He’s a really good kicker, and I’m happy for him. I’m proud of him. I’m not one of those guys that’s going to be spiteful and say, ‘Oh, he let us down against Green Bay, I hope he has a terrible career.’
“That’s not who I am. He’s a good kid. He works hard. I wish him the best, unless we play him of course.”
The fall of Skinny Blair
Priefer also offered some thoughts on the reason behind the sudden and dramatic downfall of former Vikings kicker Blair Walsh.
“If you remember, Blair Walsh was a 60 percent kicker his senior year [at Georgia] and he went to the Pro Bowl his rookie year,” Priefer said. “He had a phenomenal [rookie] year. His second year he was pretty good. Then he got banged up.
“Then what happened with Blair, in my opinion, is he lost a lot of weight. He was trying to be more fit, and when he lost the weight, he lost his strength. He lost his strength, he changed his technique and he wasn’t as successful. That’s something I tried to stop and didn’t get it stopped.”
Waynes, O’Neill full go
Here’s a sentence you rarely see in mid-December: Every member of the Vikings’ active roster practiced Thursday.
Trae Waynes (concussion) and Brian O’Neill (ankle) were upgraded from limited Wednesday to full participation Thursday. Asked about Waynes, who missed last week’s game, coach Mike Zimmer said, “I expect him to play.”
Chad Beebe (hamstring) was limited Thursday after missing Wednesday’s practice.
Also limited again Thursday were Eric Kendricks (rib), David Morgan (knee), Mike Remmers (low back) and Sheldon Richardson (hip).
Not entirely old-school
Zimmer is on record as a 62-year-old, old-school guy who doesn’t like how defenses have become handcuffed by rule changes and points of emphasis. But he doesn’t object to all the modern rules in today’s game.
“Some of the safety rules I agree with,” he said. “There’s still some I think they could [call more]. The blindside blocks, like the one sweep [Seattle] had [Monday night].”
On that particular play, running back Rashaad Penny reversed field and gained 17 yards. One of the key blocks caught cornerback Xavier Rhodes’ blindside. It wasn’t a vicious blow, but it was around the head area.
“You hit a guy when he’s not looking, you don’t have to hit him, you can just screen him,” Zimmer said. “I think they could make that unnecessary roughness, whether you hit him in the head [or not]. Because that’s when guys get hurt.
“I had a kid [former Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers] break his jaw.”