The last thing Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer needed was another kicker problem, but the alarms haven't risen to that level with Dan Bailey after the veteran missed three of his six kicks during last Sunday's overtime victory against the Jaguars.
"I'm fine with it," Zimmer said Friday. "Dan's had a great year, been good in practice this week. Talked to him a little bit the other day. He's very confident. He'll be fine."
Bailey, a former Pro Bowler in his 10th season, is trying to move on from what special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf called simply "a bad day" against Jacksonville, missing two extra point tries and a 51-yard field goal attempt. The operation with new long snapper Andrew DePaola and holder Britton Colquitt went smoothly, Maalouf said. Bailey just missed.
The errors were nearly costly in the 27-24 overtime win, when Zimmer didn't put his field goal team on the field until a false start at the Jaguars' 1-yard line.
"I feel like I've been hitting the ball well, not only in practice, but during the season," Bailey said. "So, to go out there and perform that way was a little frustrating, obviously, for myself and everybody else, too, I'm sure. But you just have to put it behind you."
Bailey, who has made 12 of 15 field goals and 27 of 30 extra points, said the Vikings might have the NFL's oldest specialist trio, with the 32-year-old kicker joined by a 33-year-old DePaola and 35-year-old Colquitt. Zimmer chuckled at the notion that may help him sleep at night, but he added he trusts Bailey "a lot." The Vikings cut second-year long snapper Austin Cutting on Dec. 1.
"There's a lot of experience out there," Bailey said, "so we can kind of rely on that and just keep working as good together as we can."
Bucs' Evans to play
Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans was a full participant in Friday's practice after a "scare" with a hamstring injury that sidelined him Thursday, head coach Bruce Arians said. Evans, who leads the Buccaneers with 11 touchdown catches, is expected to play against the Vikings.
Starting cornerback Jamel Dean, who is listed as doubtful because of a groin injury, was limited in Friday's practice and will be a "game-time decision," Arians said.
Doubters fuel him
Receiver Justin Jefferson's 1,039 receiving yards rank fourth in the NFL, and fewer than half of those yards (39%) have come from the slot position.
Jefferson was asked Friday about the predraft concern he was only a slot receiver.
"I think about it a lot and that's what kind of fuels my game," he said.
"Just having in the back of my mind that there are always certain people that doubt me to do certain things."