General managers throughout the league must make some difficult decisions as the NFL preseason draws to a close. Robust rosters will soon be reduced from 80 to 53 players.
Rick Spielman, a former Vikings general manager, thought about how challenging those choices might be at this time of year. But the decision he regrets most was a cut made during the regular season that really benefited the Raiders.
Just two games into Daniel Carlson’s debut season, Spielman cut Carlson from the team. Soon after, Carlson was signed by Las Vegas, and ever since, he has been among the NFL’s top kickers. He was named to the second team of the All-Pro in 2021 after leading the league in field goals made.
Spielman claims that Carlson might end up being one of the greatest kickers in NFL history at the conclusion of his film. In a word, hurt. The depth of the regret is evident.
And it’s clear why. Carlson was selected by the Vikings in the fifth round, but they gave up on him far too soon. The Vikings’ fixation with defeating the Packers can also be blamed by Spielman, since Carlson’s three missed field goal attempts at Lambeau Field contributed to his impulsive decision.
Carlson has never missed a field goal at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, and last season, he tied for the league lead in points scored. He succeeded on 40 out of his 43 tries in 2021.
Also, he is reliable. In the previous season, Carlson made five game-winning field goals, and in the Raiders’ memorable victory over the Chargers to end the regular season, he made all five of his attempts, including the game-winner.
So it makes sense that Spielman would regret his choice. Fans of the Vikings undoubtedly agree. Although evaluating players in the NFL is not an exact science, general managers in the league would be well to be aware with the tale of how Carlson ended up playing for the Raiders, particularly with roster cuts imminent.