Vikings Kicker’s Redemptive Tale Can Continue in 2022

Vikings Kicker's Redemptive Tale Can Continue in 2022
Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (1) and his teammates celebrate after Joseph. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

After Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season, onlookers of the Minnesota Vikings were resentfully low on then-new kicker Greg Joseph.

The Vikings played in the desert versus the Arizona Cardinals, a team flying high at the time and one that would later be known as the league’s top team around midseason. Ultimately, the Cardinals collapsed — an annual Kingsbury tradition in Arizona — but they were magnificent when the Vikings played them. Still, Minnesota hung tough and nearly when won the damn thing.

The nearly is because of Joseph. During the 4th Quarter of the game, Kirk Cousins marched the Vikings offense down the field with the game on the line. The old head coach, Mike Zimmer, opted for the pause button on the offensive drive, preferring a game-winning field goal attempt. It was a chip shot.

Joseph missed it.

Predictably, Joseph was likened to Blair Walsh — which was a fair comparison — and fans spent a full week disgruntled at the Vikings, and Joseph in particular. Never mind Joseph’s heroic theatrics the week before at the Cincinnati Bengals. He was clutch in that Week 1 contest, keeping the Vikings in the game with a field goal from 53 yards as the 4th Quarter expired.

Greg Joseph
Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (1) kicks a point after with a hold from punter Jordan Berry. © Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Thankfully for Joseph’s sake, he had 15 games to ascertain forgiveness and redemption. Joseph ended up connecting on a couple of walkoff field goals — one of the “relief” variety against the Detroit Lions when Minnesota almost coughed away certain victory at U.S. Bank Stadium. Then, against the main rival, the Green Bay Packers, Joseph ended Aaron Rodgers’ evening in Week 11 with a teensy game-winner.

Because of those kicks and prowess for drilling long field goals, Joseph was not replaced by new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah this offseason. The Vikings kicker banged through seven of nine field goat tries of 50+ yards, the same percentage authored by the Kansas City Chiefs star Harrison Butker, who is characterized as a Top 3 NFL kicker.

Adofo-Mensah teetered on a summer competition, though. He signed rookie Gabe Brkic for a few weeks, and another summer kicker tryst — they were popular with Zimmer in charge — was on the way. Yet, after Vikings minicamp in June, Brkic was waived thanks to a lackluster showing in Eagan.

Advantage Joseph.

It is unclear if Adofo-Mensah will sign another kicker before the regular season. He probably would have done it by now. Michael Badgley is available, but he’s encountered some dreadful moments.

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

In the end, Joseph is likely to get another opportunity at redemption for the Cardinals miss. He didn’t let it ruin him like the Vikings kicker from 2015. The Vikings won two games because of Joseph following the Arizona atrocity, not in spite of him.

At heart, Vikings fans are a cynical breed, particularly pertaining to kickers. So, one more season sans heartbreaking mistakes should win them over indefinitely.

Joseph was 33 for 38 (86.8%) overall on field goals last year.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).