Why Does Kicking Always Crush the Vikings?

Greg Joseph's Significance to Vikings Is High
Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Remember way back when Gary Anderson missed the game-winning kick in the 1998 NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons? Of course, you do. Minnesota Vikings fans have that pain burned into their memory. Why does it continue to be a problem, though?

Coming into this season, there was talk about Greg Joseph and how good he had been in practice and exhibition action. His leg had seemingly found a new gear and was booting balls further than it ever had. With a 56-yarder under his belt this season, effectively a career long, you’d certainly hope for better than we’ve seen.

After converting over 84% of his kicks a season ago, Joseph has fallen off a cliff. He owns the worst success rate in the NFL, and his 84.2% rate on extra points is also a career worst. To put it plainly, he’s been nothing short of terrible.

Seeing Daniel Carlson, a former 5th-round pick by the Vikings, on the flip side of this coin is simply salt in the wound. Former head coach Mike Zimmer was fed up with Carlson after just two games in which he went 1-for-4 on kicks. The Raiders then claimed him, and he went on to miss just once in 17 chances the rest of the way.

So Far, Daniel Carlson Has Turned into 5th-Best Kicker in NFL History.
Sep 9, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

For Minnesota, whether it was Anderson’s lone miss of the season, a wide kick at TCF Bank Stadium by Blair Walsh, the quick hook on Carlson, inaccuracy from an all-time great kicker in Dan Bailey, or the current woes from Joseph, the kicking game never seems to get off the ground. With the Vikings experiencing such success to start the 2022 season, this is a facet of the game they must wrangle in — and soon.

There’s no denying that close games are often won by kicks. And while the Vikings have found themselves on the right side of those matchups to this point, Kevin O’Connell certainly doesn’t want to see his ship sink due to poor special teams play. Minnesota will need to decide if Joseph continues to be their answer and, if not, where they’ll turn.

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

As we’ve seen before, though, it may be less about who the kicker is and more about simply getting them to provide consistent production. It’s been a snakebit position for years, which Minnesota would undoubtedly like to distance itself from.

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Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.