Mike Zimmer refused to commit to Dan Bailey as the Minnesota Vikings' kicker following the veteran's forgettable Week 14 performance, in which he missed all four of his kicks -- three field goals and an extra point. Three days ahead of the team's potentially season-defining rematch with the Chicago Bears, however, the coach has seemingly guaranteed Bailey's immediate job security, telling reporters Thursday that he has "a lot" of confidence in the veteran after a strong week of practice.
"He's kicked good this week," Zimmer said, per the Star Tribune's Andrew Krammer. "I talked to him a couple times this week about certain things. He's a very even-keeled guy that has a history of being a terrific kicker in this league. Like I told the team the other day, there's not one guy on our football team that hasn't had a bad day. That's just part of life ... We're not going to dwell on it. Everybody else is, but we're not."
The reality, of course, is that Bailey isn't coming off just one bad day, and the Vikings know it. Before leaving 10 points on the board in Minnesota's 12-point Week 14 loss, the former longtime Dallas Cowboy missed three kicks -- two field goals and one extra point -- in the Vikings' 27-24 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars the week prior. On the year, his third with the team, Bailey has posted by far the lowest field goal percentage (66.7) of his career, prompting Minnesota to try out free agent Chandler Catanzaro this week.
It's possible Zimmer and Co. genuinely want to grant Bailey one more chance at redemption, but it's also possible COVID-19 restrictions simply didn't allow the team enough time to introduce Catanzaro as an immediate replacement. Either way, it'll be up to Bailey to deliver -- if he's called upon -- against Chicago on Sunday, with an NFC Wild-Card spot potentially on the line.