Last April Daniel Carlson had his named called in the fifth round of the NFL draft. The Vikings drafted him and usually when a kicker goes in the fifth round, he is considered a special player. After two games in a Vikings uniform, he was cut.
Carlson had missed three field goals in a game against Vikings rival Green Bay Packers that ended in a 29-29 tie. Brutal.
Six weeks Carlson was unemployed before the Raiders came calling.
In his first game as a Raiders, he would miss a field goal attempt off the right upright from 45 yards out. He hasn’t missed since.
Since that miss, he’s made five straight field goals and in a crucial, come-from-behind win in Arizona he went 3-for-3 including a career-long 49-yarder and the game-winning 35-yard field goal. He also made both his point after attempts.
For that, the man who was once run out of Minnesota on a rail has now been named AFC Special Teams player of the week.
Gruden said this week that he hopes the team has found their long term answer at kicker.
“We liked Carlson coming out of Auburn. A lot of people did. He just got off to a rocky start like a lot of kickers do in Minnesota,” said Gruden. “He’s been good for us. He has a big leg. He can kick off. He can get us touchbacks. He’s a long-range field goal, and yesterday he proved to be a clutch field goal kicker. I think that can really jump start his career because he’s a very talented young kicker.”
Carlson is the fourth kicker the Raiders have had since training camp. Eddy Pineiro was lost to a groin injury, Mike Nugent to a hip injury, and Matt McCrane was just 5 of 9 on field goals over three games and was replaced by Carlson.