Colts audition kickers for second time this season as Vinatieri’s struggles continue

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 10: Adam Vinatieri #4 of the Indianapolis Colts kicks a field goal in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For the second time in less than three months, the Indianapolis Colts are giving serious consideration to moving on from Adam Vinatieri.

According to a source with knowledge the situation, no decision has been made in that regard as of Tuesday morning. However, the team is expected to work out several kickers to determine if one would be a better option than its decorated placekicker who now has missed an NFL-high 11 kicks in eight games. ESPN first reported the impending tryouts.

After Vinatieri missed five kicks in the first two games, general manager Chris Ballard brought in six kickers for a workout: Cody Parkey, Cole Hedlund, Elliott Fry, Greg Joseph, Younghoe Koo and Chase McLaughlin. Koo subsequently signed with the Atlanta Falcons and McLaughlin with the San Franciso 49ers.

One veteran on the market is Matt Bryant. The 44-year-old recently was waived by the Falcons after converting 9-of-14 field goal attempts and 14-of-15 PATs.

The decision facing Ballard and the Colts: do they stick with Vinatieri, warts and all, or turn to someone who might not prove to be an upgrade? Players are available in mid-November for a reason, and that’s especially true with kickers.

The latest issue with Vinatieri, one of just four players in NFL history to play at age 46, occurred in Sunday’s 16-12 loss to Miami. He hit 25- and 39-yard field goals, but pulled a PAT wide left early in the fourth quarter. That impacted the finish of the game when the Colts reached the Dolphins’ 16-yard line with 59 seconds remaining, but needed a touchdown to win rather than a field goal to tie and force overtime.

Frank Reich has remained a staunch Vinatieri supporter all season, but that seemed to lessen after the Miami loss.

“We’ve been committed to him, but like everybody I’d say this – generally speaking about our roster – we’re going to always evaluate,” he said. “Everybody gets measured. Everyone’s held accountable. From top to bottom that’s always the case.

“Nothing meant to read into that. That’s just the reality of this business.”

Vinatieri insisted his confidence hasn’t waned.

“It’s just a matter of executing,” he said.

He also wouldn’t elaborate on whether he’s still being bothered by an injury to his left knee that forced him to miss time during training camp.

“I’m healthy enough to be on the field,” he said.

Vinatieri’s situation is so acute because of how the season has unfolded.

The Colts have opened the season with nine games decided by 7 points or fewer, the NFL’s second-longest streak with 1940. They’re 5-4 and have outscored the opposition 194-193.

And Vinatieri’s misses have left 21 points on the field.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51

And be sure to catch the Colts Blue Zone Podcast:

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.