The latest episode of "As Dan Bailey Turns" came and went Wednesday. The embattled Vikings kicker made it through another day, albeit one in which his head coach did not exactly speak of him in glowing terms.
When asked if the Vikings anticipate having Bailey — who has missed a combined seven kicks the last two weeks — do the job again on Sunday and then if he thinks the Vikings will add another kicker to the roster, Zimmer offered the same terse two-word answer:
But as we discussed on the latest Access Vikings podcast, there isn't much to see at this point. Ben Goessling — spoiler alert — said Bailey is going to be the kicker on Sunday.
Goessling makes two good points: One, because of COVID protocols the Vikings wouldn't be able to use veteran Chandler Catanzaro — who has made nearly 84% of his career field goals — unless they trotted him out Sunday without a single practice with the team. And two, the last time Zimmer's Vikings cut a veteran kicker (Blair Walsh, then in his fifth season in 2016), they gave him an extra week and one more chance to save his job.
But NFL coaches (Zimmer in particular) are conditioned to not volunteer information. He's treating this — hilariously, in some ways — like a coach manufacturing a quarterback dilemma, as if not knowing what kicker a team will use is some disadvantage for an opponent.
About the nicest thing Zimmer would say about Bailey on Wednesday was this: "I don't think we have a kicker we can't depend on."
That double-negative isn't exactly a positive, but expect Bailey to be kicking Sunday. Beyond that? Especially if he misses another kick and the Vikings are still in the playoff hunt after the Bears game? All bets are off.
Here are four other things I'm thinking about this morning:
*Bovada has set the Wolves' over-under season win total at 28.5. Remember, this is a 72-game season — so that would be about 32.5 in a regular 82-game season. Minnesota has its final preseason game Thursday at Dallas before opening the regular season next Wednesday at Target Center against Detroit.
Frankly, that total feels about right — an improvement over last season (19-45) but not really in the playoff mix yet. One thing that could make "over" bettors winners: If 19-year-old Anthony Edwards matures on the court beyond his years.
He's already one of the most engaging interview subjects on the team. That doesn't mean much in terms of wins and losses, but if you want to root for someone because you like him, feel free to latch onto Edwards.
*By the way, that Wolves preseason game, just like 37 first-half regular-season games, will be on Fox Sports North. But you won't be able to see it if you have Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV or Dish Network, among others. All of those streaming/satellite options no longer carry regional sports networks, including FSN.
The most recent to drop them was Hulu. But that didn't stop them from raising the price of the Hulu + Live TV subscription from $55 to $65 starting Friday. That base package was $40 less than two years ago and included FSN. If you love paying more for less, I suggest subscribing.
*The Wild's goalie situation took another turn Wednesday when the team signed veteran Andrew Hammond to a two-way deal as insurance against an Alex Stalock injury.
Stalock, who was solid in net for the Wild a season ago, has one of those dreaded "upper body" injuries — a non-specific designation the NHL insists upon, which only invites more speculation. As one colleague quipped: It could be anything from appendicitis to a bad haircut.
Still, if it's bad enough for Stalock to be considered out "indefinitely," it bears watching — even if the NHL season seems to also be on hold indefinitely.
*The NCAA ruled Wednesday that all transfers are eligible immediately this season. That is good news for the Gophers women's basketball team, which will soon be able to add 6-3 transfer Kayla Mershon — formerly of Nebraska and Minnetonka High — to its active roster.
The Gophers are 1-3, including blowout losses to Drake and Northwestern. Any help should be a welcome sight for coach Lindsay Whalen.