It sounds like the Vikings will hire a kicking coach this spring.
When asked Friday about the addition, which Zimmer has mulled this offseason, he indicated the team will add a personalized coach for kicker Dan Bailey, who signed a one-year, $1 million contract to stay in Minnesota. The first full team practice is May 21.
“We’re working on it, yeah,” Zimmer said after the first practice of the weekend’s three-day rookie minicamp, where two kickers in Jonas Schenderlein (Concordia-St. Paul) and Austin MacGinnis (Kentucky) were among 37 tryouts.
The Vikings ranked last in field goal percentage (68.6 percent) last season, at the start of which rookie Daniel Carlson was cut after missing three field goals in a Week 2 tie at Green Bay. Bailey was then signed and missed a career-high seven field goals (one blocked) as the Vikings missed the playoffs.
Zimmer previously wondered openly about the kicking struggles during the NFL Scouting Combine.
“As you know, we’ve struggled finding the kicker or with consistency at that position, especially,” Zimmer said Feb. 28. “And I go back and I think about the three kicks in Green Bay and when Blair Walsh missed that 27-yarder and how much that affected how the organization. If we get in the playoffs, who knows? If we win that first playoff game in Seattle, who knows? Those are the kind of things that enter my mind if we’re trying to get to the next level.”
The Vikings have mostly spoken with former NFL kickers in the search, according to Zimmer, who added finding the right fit with both Bailey and the staff is important. The new coach would work in concert with first-year special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf, whom Zimmer said approved of a hire.
Zimmer said he has a greater understanding of the whole field goal operation after last year’s inconsistencies ranged from snaps, holds to kicks.
“That’s a part I probably took for granted a little bit maybe,” Zimmer said Feb. 28. “How hard is it to do this? But I guess it’s harder than I thought.”