Unhappy with the performance of incumbent Aaron Elling through three preseason games, Minnesota coach Mike Tice might seek a familiar solution to the Vikings' place-kicking woes: trying to lure NFL all-time leading scorer Gary Anderson out of retirement.
"It's obvious to all of us we can't keep going down this vein," Tice acknowledged after Friday night's 23-10 victory over San Francisco, a game in which Elling missed a pair of field-goal attempts and an extra-point try.
The second-year veteran, who won a kicking competition last summer to earn his first NFL roster spot after bouncing around training camps for a couple of years, has converted just four of seven field-goal tries this summer. On Friday, he was wide right on a 44-yarder and wide left on a 32-yard attempt. His only field-goal conversion was on a 35-yard kick in the second quarter.
Anderson, 45, has come out of retirement in each of the last two seasons to rescue a club in need of help. In 2002, he rejoined the Vikings after Doug Brien struggled early in the season. Last year, he replaced injured Tennessee Titans kicker Joe Nedney.
The 22-year veteran has made 521 of 650 field goals and 783 of 790 extra points in his celebrated career. His 2,346 points and 521 field goals are both NFL records. Anderson has scored 100 or more points in 14 seasons, with a career best of 164 points in 1998. He has kicked for Pittsburgh (1982-94), Philadelphia (1995-96), San Francisco (1997), Minnesota (1998-2002) and Tennessee (2003).
The former Syracuse star insisted at the end of the 2003 season that his retirement was for good this time, but he has changed his mind in the past.
After converting 18 of 25 field goals and all 48 extra points in 2003, Elling struggled in camp and his problems have carried over into the preseason. The only other kicker on the roster is Dan Orner of North Carolina, an undrafted free agent, but he has had some problems with kickoffs.
Tice said he wants to consider the situation a bit more before making a decision, but he all but conceded that he will add a kicker to the roster to challenge Elling for the job, and that there could be a change before the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against Dallas.
"I don't know what to think of the young man anymore," Tice said about Elling. "I tried to put him back in there so he could make a kick and end the day on a high. I think he is second-guessing himself. I can't afford to have a kicker second-guessing himself."
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.