The Vikings obtained kicker Daniel Carlson by trading up for a fifth-round pick earlier this year. On Monday, they gave him away, for nothing.
He exits with his $243,000 signing bonus, advance payment for four years of service when in the end he lasted only two games. The money is next to nothing; the harder part for the Vikings had to be folding the tents on a failed fifth-round pick so quickly into his tenure.
It’s hardly uncommon, however. Mid-to-low-round picks routinely don’t make the 53-man roster of a given team, walking away with their signing bonuses and giving the organization regret for picking them instead of someone else.
But the Vikings have learned the hard way the danger of sticking with a kicker in the hopes that he’ll find a way to get over the yips. Blair Walsh had been a solid contributor from 2012 through 2015. He shanked a chip shot that would have sealed a playoff win over the Seahawks, and he never was the same.
The Vikings remained stubbornly patient as he missed kick after kick in 2016, presumably hoping to reap the benefit of his second chance in lieu of letting another team realize it. The Vikings ultimately waited too long.
This time around, the Vikings opted to show no patience. And for good reason. The supply of adequate kickers far outweighs the demand. If one kicker can’t get it done, another one can.
The fact that Dan Bailey, the second most accurate kicker in league history, was available for now and may not have been for long may have prompted the Vikings to show no patience with Carlson. Regardless, Carlson failed to deliver when he had to know his job was potentially riding on the outcome. That makes him not the guy to trust when the season may be riding on whether one of his kicks ends up making it through the uprights.