Browns and Vikings take different approaches to waiving their wayward kickers

Jonathan Daniel and Jonathan Bachman/ Getty Images
  • The Browns and the Vikings both released their kickers after dreadful performances Sunday.
  • Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer did not hold back when addressing the media regarding the team’s decision to release former Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson.
  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson was more sympathetic to kicker Zane Gonzalez, who missed four of six attempts in Cleveland’s 21-18 loss to Saints.

The Browns and the Vikings failed to come away with wins in their respective games Sunday afternoon, and in both cases, their teams’ kicking performances were primarily to blame.

Both franchises have since parted ways with their kickers, but the way the coaches addressed media about the decision could not have been more different.

Minnesota kicker Daniel Carlson went 0-3 on field goals in his former team’s 29-29 tie with the Packers. Two of those misses came during overtime, including a 35-yard boot that would have won the game for the Vikings.

Head coach Mike Zimmer had no qualms about releasing the former Auburn kicker, calling the decision a “pretty easy” one.

“Did you see the game?” Zimmer added.

Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson showed much more mercy when he talked to kicker Zane Gonzalez after his dreadful performance in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“I told him to put his head up,” Jackson said. “He’s still one of the guys in that room. He kicked well in practice, [but] it didn’t make it here in the game today.”

The second-year kicker out of Arizona State misfired on a 52-yard field goal attempt that would have tied the game in the final seconds. He also missed two extra-point attempts and an additional field goal en route to the Browns’ 3-point loss to the Saints.

Jackson confirmed reports that Gonzalez was playing with a groin injury in Sunday’s contest, but said that “I did not know and nobody had ever reported to me from our medical department that Zane was hurt.” The Browns waived Gonzalez Monday to make room for rookie free-agent Greg Joseph after he worked out for the team earlier in the day.

“Obviously, we have to find someone that can put the ball through the uprights,” Jackson said after Joseph signed. “We have had this situation happen now for a couple of weeks. We have to keep searching and keep looking.”

Minnesota decided to go a completely different direction with the future of their kicking staff. The Vikings swapped out their fifth-round draft pick up for veteran Dan Bailey. The former Cowboy is the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history.

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