Chiefs released veteran over weekend
One of the game's greatest clutch performers, Morten Andersen is returning to the scene of one of his biggest kicks in an attempt to capture the NFL career records for scoring and field goal conversions.
Released by Kansas City over the weekend, as the Chiefs opted to keep former CFL kicker Lawrence Tynes, Andersen, 44, signed Tuesday with Minnesota. The move was not altogether surprising, given that Vikings coach Mike Tice has been trying to stabilize his kicking situation for the past two weeks.
It was Andersen's 38-yard field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game, a kick that came in overtime at the Metrodome, that upset the heavily favored Vikings and lifted the Atlanta Falcons into Super Bowl XXXIII. Andersen has made longer field goals, but few, he acknowledged in recent years, were any bigger than that one.
Contract details on Andersen's deal were not immediately available. To create a roster spot for Andersen, the Vikings released journeyman kicker Brett Conway, whom they had signed last Tuesday to a two-year contract.
Second-year veteran Aaron Elling arrived at training camp as the Vikings' incumbent, but he struggled in camp and in the preseason and, after considerable deliberation, Tice chose to replace him with Conway. The chance to add a proven veteran and likely future Hall of Fame member, however, was too good for Minnesota officials to ignore.
Kansas City coaches hinted that Andersen has lost some leg strength, particularly on his kickoffs, but kicking in a dome for the third time in his career should help compensate for that. In fact, only in the last three seasons, with the New York Giants (2001) and Kansas City (2002-03), has Andersen kicked for a franchise with an open-air stadium.
In 22 seasons, "The Great Dane" -- Andersen was born near Copenhagen and came to the United State as a foreign exchange student in high school -- has converted 502 of 636 field goal attempts and 753 of 763 extra points. He holds the NFL record for most game-winning field goals and for the most field goals converted from 50 or more yards.
His 2,259 points leave Andersen just 89 shy of Gary Anderson's league record. He needs just 21 field goals to supplant Anderson as the record holder in that category.
Andersen has scored 100 or more points in 14 of his 22 seasons.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
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