An Overlooked Veteran FA for the Vikings to Seriously Consider

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Robbie Gould has been a sensational kicker for a long time. He’s a free agent the Vikings should seriously consider adding.

During his postseason career, he hasn’t missed a kick, a remarkable feat when we remember that he’s been a part of 16 playoff games, the equivalent of a full season (until recently). He is a perfect 29/29 on field goals and 39/39 extra points.

What would it take to buy that kind of consistency? The Vikings may soon find out.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

One of Minnesota’s internal free agents is Greg Joseph. After a promising 2021, the South African kicker struggled with his encore. He was 26/33 (78.8%) on his field goals and 40/46 (87.0%) on his extra points. Meanwhile, SF’s veteran kicker went 27/32 (84.4%) on his field goals and 50/51 (98.0%) on his extra points.

Gould likely offers more consistency in the upcoming season. If Minnesota gets to the playoffs, Gould offers the near certainty that he’ll drill his kicks.

Upon first glance, the major concern is twofold: a lack of range and the price. In 2022, Gould only hit 2 field goals from 50+; he only had the 2 attempts. He went 7/11 on kicks between 40-49 yards. So, he wasn’t leaned on to kick from deep very often and the reasonably long kicks – in the 40s – weren’t particularly accurate.

Joseph found himself on the opposite end of things. He got 10 attempts from 50+ but only hit 4 of them. In fairness, one of them was the truly sensational kick from 61 yards to seal the deal against the New York Giants:

Now, being able to hit from distance is a desirable trait in a kicker, but it’s not the be-all, end-all. Vikings fans far and wide would likely welcome boring consistency over booming unreliability. If the Vikings found themselves on the fringe of the veteran kicker’s range, Kevin O’Connell may need to simply go for it on 4th down or allow Ryan Wright – a.k.a The Stallion – to drop the ball inside the 20.

The other issue is money, or lack thereof. Last season, Robbie Gould carried a $5,509,313 cap hit. Joseph, in contrast, only had a $2,433,000 hit, so the kicker budget would more than double if Gould had an identical cap hit in 2023 (which is no sure thing). Minnesota may need to lean into void years to make a potential Gould deal work.

The Zapruder Part of Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Another complicating factor is the franchise tag. Would SF use the tag on their veteran kicker to avoid losing him? One has to assume they’d like his clutch kicking for another playoff run in 2023. The kicker franchise tag number is a reasonably manageable $5,393,000.

Anyone who has followed Minnesota knows that kicking heartbreak has a starring role in the drama that is Vikings history. Being able to rectify that issue has been a stubbornly difficult issue. The team will be looking to, at the very least, provide competition for Joseph (if they bring him back). Even better, though, may be a deal for someone who has been lights out for a long time.

Robbie Gould is someone to keep in the back of your mind as free agency gets closer.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece. This piece was originally posted on PurplePTSD.