Raiders’ Carlson Ready to Kick Against Former Team

A year ago, Daniel Carlson was unemployed.

The current Raiders kicker had been drafted in the fifth round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 and was released after just two games, on Sept. 18. He’d been fine in his first game, connecting on his only field-goal try. But in his second, a game that ended in a 29-29 tie after overtime, Carlson missed all three of his attempts – and Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had seen enough.

He cut Carlson. Then, when asked by a reporter why he’d decided to move on after just one bad game, responded, “Did you see the game?” Zimmer said it was a “pretty easy decision.”

Now, after resurrecting his career with the Raiders, Carlson gets a chance to kick against Zimmer and his former teammates Sunday when the 1-1 Raiders travel to Minnesota to take on the 1-1 Vikings.

After being cut by the Vikings, Carlson took some time off to work on his techniques and fundamentals and figured out what he was doing wrong. He signed with the Raiders on Oct. 24, played 10 games, and then re-signed with Oakland on a one-year deal worth $570,000.

For the Raiders last season, Carlson made 16-of-17 field-goal tries, including all three from 50 or more yards. This year he’s 2-for-2.

This week, Zimmer says he’s certainly thought many times about his decision to cut Carlson. Dan Bailey, Carlson’s replacement with the Vikings, missed two kicks last week – a field-goal attempt and extra-point try – in a 21-16 loss to the Packers, and missed seven field-goal tries in 14 games last season.

“Honestly, I’m happy for him,” Zimmer said of Carlson this week, according to Levi Damien of SB Nation. “I mean, do I have regrets? I like our kicker who we have now, but did I second guess it? Sure. He’s done great there, and I think he’s a very, very talented kid. I wish him well, just not this week. But no, I’m happy for him and in retrospect I guess, yeah, I’ve thought about it many times.”

Sunday’s game in Minnesota is set for a kickoff at 10 a.m.

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