If Dan Bailey was looking for a refreshing wave of renewed faith from above Wednesday morning, he sure didn't get it from his boss.
In a short, terse video conference with reporters, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was asked three questions about the embattled Bailey, who missed four kicks in Sunday's 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay.
Do you anticipate Dan Bailey being your kicker on Sunday?
Do you have any plans to add any other kickers to the roster?
Later, Zimmer was asked if it makes him angry during the course of a game that he has a kicker he can't depend on.
He didn't bite.
"I don't think we have a kicker we can't depend on," Zimmer said. "There's all kinds of guys making mistakes throughout the course of the game. But that's just part of life, part of momentum. There's ebbs and flows to every game."
Jefferson has Moss in his sights
With five 100-yard games, Justin Jefferson already has broken one of Hall of Famer Randy Moss' rookie records. Moss had four of those.
Moss also holds the records for catches (69), yards receiving (1,313) and touchdown catches (17). With 65 catches for 1,078 yards, Jefferson could be passing two of those in the next two weeks.
"I didn't even know I was that close to him [in catches]," Jefferson said. "But that's pretty exciting to [possibly] beat him in receptions and be No. 1 on the board. Hopefully, I can beat his yards record also."
He needs 236 more to do that.
As for that touchdowns mark, good luck. Jefferson is 10 behind Moss' rookie record.
Cook starts the trash-talking
Dalvin Cook fessed up when asked who starts those facemask-to-facemask trash-talking bouts with Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.
"I kind of jump out there first," he said.
Cook said he uses his mouth to get his legs going full speed against one of the best defenses in the league.
"They have a bunch of guys, they're dogs, they're a good defense," Cook said. "You know it's going to be a physical Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears matchup. I live in it, I take advantage of it. It's fun playing in it against those guys."
Cook had 30 carries for 96 yards in the Vikings' 19-13 win at Soldier Field on Nov. 16. The 3.2 average is Cook's season low. It might have been lower had Hicks not gotten injured and played only 38 of Chicago's 73 defensive snaps.
When asked what makes Hicks such a tough opponent, Cook saved the trash talking for Sunday .
"He's big, first off," Cook said. "Probably one of the biggest people on the field. I think he does a great job of utilizing two gaps. He plays a lot of gaps, uses his size very good and he's aggressive."
Still no Kendricks, Rudolph
Five Vikings — including starters Eric Kendricks (calf), Kyle Rudolph (foot) and C.J. Ham (quadriceps) – did not practice because of injuries Wednesday. Also missing practice were Alexander Mattison (illness) and Armon Watts (back). Mattison is still recovering from an appendectomy.
Limited in practice was Jordan Brailford (back). D.J. Wonnum (ankle) is on the injury report but was a full participant in practice.
- Jefferson, misunderstanding a question about NFL home games and talking about his personal Christmas Day homecoming game in New Orleans: "I love playing at home. Especially with my past … my last time being there, I won the national championship. It's definitely going to be exciting playing in front of my family and friends, all those people that I grew with. I'm definitely looking forward to taking that dub [win] next week."
- Cook on if there's any advantage to home games without fans in the stands: "Nothing. Just … silent. … You don't realize how much the fans are important to you until they're gone."
- Despite his sometimes less-than-polished slides, quarterback Kirk Cousins said he and quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak do work on how to do it: "We watch film during OTAs, training camp, studying the way to do it and then watching clips of the way not to do it. It's important not to trust defenders. They penalize them, they fine them, but don't trust them. Get down."
- Cornerback Mark Fields was waived to make room for linebacker Blake Lynch's promotion from the practice squad.