For the Time Being, Vikings Kicking Competition Ends
For what felt like ten minutes, the Minnesota Vikings kicker situation stabilized in 2019. Former Viking Dan Bailey had a nifty season after replacing rookie Daniel Carlson the year before.
But Bailey could not survive 2020. He missed seven field goals and six extra points, leading to ultimate habitation on the NFL’s free-agent wire.
No team has signed Dan Bailey as of mid-August.
Minnesota moved on from Bailey this offseason, entrusting field-goal and extra-point kicking duties to Greg Joseph and rookie Riley Patterson. Joseph, 27, is a young journeyman who has spent time with the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a member of the Buccaneers practice squad when Brady and his pals won Super Bowl LV.
Now he plays for the Vikings, although Riley Patterson was a roster face added to push Joseph in training camp. A University of Memphis alumnus, Patterson kicked a smidgen for the team in Eagan, boasting an impressive foot in terms of distance.
The competition ended – at least for a bit – on Monday when Patterson, along with injured WR Blake Proehl, was released during the team’s trim-down to 85 players.
The Vikings waived kicker Riley Patterson.
Greg Joseph is now the only kicker on the team's roster.
— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) August 16, 2021
By tomorrow, general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer must release one more man to scale back to 85 players, the number mandated by the league for August 17. Too, Patterson was waived with a strange injury designation, meaning he could return to the Vikings on the practice squad at some point.
Weird injury situation with Riley Patterson.
He doesn't practice for basically all of training camp, comes out and looks perfectly healthy and effective in the stadium practice a couple Saturdays ago, then goes back to doing nothing and is gonna end up on IR. https://t.co/5Y4eut5GzR
— Will Ragatz (@WillRagatz) August 16, 2021
This Patterson-Proehl transaction assures that Joseph is the sole Vikings kicker for the foreseeable future. Zimmer infamously grips a tight leash on punters and kickers, so any misstep by Joseph may result in a phone call back to Patterson – or a free-agent kicker like Zane Gonzalez.
Most Vikings fans believed the kicker competition would span all of the preseason. Nope, not this time. Joseph was anointed the guy today and won’t lose the gig unless he starts shanking kicks in preseason games versus the Indianapolis Colts or Kansas City Chiefs. The 27-year-old has looked pretty decent this summer for Minnesota, implying that the notion he’d suddenly be terrible is merely cynicism from Vikings fans who are scarred from bad kicking.
Joseph is a South African dude that was also previously employed by the XFL’s Seattle Dragons. Arriving to the NFL in 2018, Joseph has converted on 17 of 20 fields goals (85.0%) and 34 of 38 extra points (89.5%) to date. He was the kicker for the Titans in the season that Tennessee bounced Tom Brady and the Patriots from the playoffs (Brady’s final game in New England).
Joseph’s career-long for FG distance is 51 yards.
Last weekend, the Vikings played miserably against the Denver Broncos at home as Zimmer chose to rest 30 players. Joseph nailed two dinker field goals (34 yards and 25 yards), a lone bright spot for a squad that was otherwise pretty bad in its first exhibition matchup.
Should Joseph make it to Week 1 as the Vikings kicker, he will be the fifth man to kick under Mike Zimmer – Blair Walsh, Kai Forbath, Daniel Carlson, Dan Bailey, and probably Joseph.