Vikings Must Overcome a Massive Issue

Vikings Must Overcome a Massive Issue
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Minnesota Vikings have a kicking issue. They did with Blair Walsh. They did with Dan Bailey. Now Kevin O’Connell has a kicking issue with returning veteran Greg Joseph.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a Daniel Carlson situation. The Vikings did not spend a fifth-round pick on a kicker, only for their coach to hastily cut him early into his rookie season. Instead, Greg Joseph is a tested veteran that has completely fallen off the table.

A season ago, the Minnesota kicker made a career-best 86.2% of his field goals and missed just four of 40 extra points. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but his production level was certainly manageable and not something to be alarmed with on a team with plenty of other deficiencies.

Fast forward to now, and Joseph has made just 72.2% of his field goals while having missed four extra points in just 25 tries. Simply put, he’s been bad and is not getting it done.

Vikings 6th Straight Win Follows Familiar Formula
Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Again on Sunday, facing a tough Buffalo Bills team, Joseph nearly cost his team the win after missing an extra point. The Vikings stalled out on a comeback drive at the one-yardline. They were forced to punch that ball in for a touchdown because the deficit was four points instead of three. As Josh Allen fumbled a snap allowing Minnesota to take the lead, no one should have taken a bigger breath than Joseph. Ultimately, he made the kick that would go on to win the game, but it doesn’t negate the earlier issue.

The Vikings won’t see “the elements” in the next three weeks. I’m not sure that a controlled weather environment is actually notable, however. While Joseph has only missed one extra point at home, he’s a horrible 3-of-8 on field goals at U.S. Bank Stadium. He’s made 100% (10/10) of his field goals on the road but turned in another three missed extra points.

Coach's Proclamation Evidently Did the Trick for Vikings Kicker
Greg Joseph

In a sport where a kick determines the outcome far more often than not, it’s become a problem that Minnesota can no longer ignore.

Finding a kicker at this stage of the season isn’t going to be easy. Minnesota opted against trading for one at the deadline, and there’s hardly a plethora of ideal options on the open market. Maybe they like former Gopher product Ryan Santoso, or the Lions former placekicker Austin Siebert could be of interest.

No matter who it is, the next step has to be exploring options. O’Connell and the Vikings benefit from a record that allows them wiggle room should they suffer a setback, but failing to capitalize on this start due to the kicking game would be a disaster.

Minnesota fans have seen this song and dance too often in recent seasons, and it’s time to correct it.

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.