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How the Minnesota Vikings will improve following the tie with the Packers

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 16: Stefon Diggs #14 of the Minnesota Vikings catches a first down pass over Jaire Alexander #23 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Vikings and the Packers tied 29-29 after overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

GREEN BAY, WI – SEPTEMBER 16: Stefon Diggs #14 of the Minnesota Vikings catches a first down pass over Jaire Alexander #23 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Vikings and the Packers tied 29-29 after overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As difficult as the ending of the game last Sunday between the Vikings and the Packers was, there may be more than one good thing for the Minnesota Vikings that comes out of what has already become an infamous 29-29 tie.

The game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Packers was an extensive affair for Viking fans.  We witnessed a wild one, full of more ups and downs than an old carnival Tilt-a-Whirl.  It may have ended anticlimactically with a tie between rivals, but can the Vikings use that tie to improve their team?

To begin, it was disappointing, then frustrating, this week 2 game at Lambeau Field. What happened to our special teams’ unit? Why was the Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers dicing up our dynamic defense? Where was our run game?

Later, it was exciting, even electrifying. We know now that the Vikings have a leader with a million dollar-arm in quarterback Kirk Cousins. They have a game-breaking superstar in wide-receiver Stefon Diggs and a guy who can’t be covered in his partner, receiver Adam Thielen.

Finally, at the end, the needle attached to the Viking fan pulse went up and down on the chart. Lose on a last-second kick–no, but miss on a kick in overtime, yes.

We watched as Green Bay moved down the field in OT with ease, set up the game-winning score,  and then slammed the door with a stunning cornerback blitz!

Fast forward to the end. The Vikings didn’t lose, and yet didn’t win on what is becoming the proverbial last-second kick.  If there is a God of Luck, he never wore purple-and-gold.

Wisdom tells us to learn from our losses.  We escaped that one.  But how can this Viking team improve after such a cruel, unusual, and absolutely crazy stalemate?

Improvement Number One: Placekicker

After missing three kicks in the Packer game (most poignantly, the last in OT from extra point range) rookie Daniel Carlson was cut by the Minnesota Vikings.

Less than a day later, former All-Pro Dallas Cowboy kicker Dan Bailey was signed.

The fact that Bailey was available was, as Cowboy owner Jerry Jones explains, all about money. The kicker was midway through a historic seven-year, $22.5 million contract that would have paid him a base salary of $3.4 million in each of the next three seasons.

Bailey rates, at 30 years old, as the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history.

He was with Dallas from 2011-17 and has made 91.2 percent of his kicks in indoor stadiums, which no doubt was one of Bailey’s agent’s top selling points.

Although his impeccable numbers took a slight dip in 2017 because of a groin injury, Bailey told the Dallas News in April of 2018 that he feels “100% healthy.”

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