Greg Joseph Has Proved Himself for 2022

Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (1) and his teammates celebrate after Joseph kicks a 54 yard field goal as time expires to defeat the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Talk of placekickers and field goals stirs up painful memories for fans of the Minnesota Vikings. It may even induce a cold sweat.

During the offseason, the Vikings searched for a new kicker, which ended with the signing of 27-year-old South African Greg Joseph — a guy who had bounced around five different teams since going undrafted in 2018. 

He made 17 of 20 field goal attempts for the Cleveland Browns in 2018, as well as 25 of 29 extra points. That was the last time he kicked a field goal — except for one 30 yard attempt in the AFC championship game — before arriving in Minnesota. Joseph played in two regular-season games for the Tennessee Titans in 2019 and three playoff games. He made eighteen extra-point attempts for Tennessee, plus the one field goal. He spent 2020 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the practice squad.

Arriving in Minnesota, he had a reasonable record but limited experience. It’s fair to say that it was a successful move and part of the turnaround on special teams this season under the leadership of Ryan Ficken. The special team’s coordinator seems to agree, telling the media on Thursday that Greg Joseph has proved himself as a long term option for the team.

But it wasn’t a perfect start for Greg Joseph.

With the chance to start his career with a walk-off win in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals, he missed from 37 yards. He didn’t let that break him and recovered to have a solid first season, making 32 of his 37 field goal attempts this season with a long of 55 yards. He made 32 of his 36 extra-point attempts. 

Redemption came with a 54-yard game-winning field goal against the Detroit Lions as time expired. He then did it again from 29 yards against the Green Bay Packers. Then, last week, he hit a field goal from 51 yards, breaking the record for the longest successful field goal at Lambeau Field in January — an impressive kick in those icy conditions, probably the best he made all season.

It wasn’t a perfect season, but with kicker turmoil happening all over the league this season, it was nice to have a player who stayed solid (and when he did miss, he always bounced back), showing the type of character you want from players.

It wasn’t just Greg Joseph’s big leg that impressed Ryan Ficken this season. He spoke glowingly of his professionalism, the way he carries himself, and his ability on kickoffs, referring to him as a “weapon” the team can use.

Whatever coaching changes may or may not be coming in the offseason, Ryan Ficken should be kept in the building. He’s done an excellent job this season and appears more than happy with his kicking unit. Greg Joseph has proved himself worthy of bringing back next season.