The Vikings Kicker Competition Is Over

Greg Joseph's Issues Are Fixable
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Most Minnesota Vikings fans believed the latest edition of a kicker battle would go down to the wire, with roster cuts looming on August 29th.

The Vikings, via social media, ended the competition with one tweet.

The Vikings Kicker Competition Is Over

Minnesota’s account on the X app, formerly known as Twitter, tweeted, “The Vikings have signed RB Aaron Dykes and waived K Jack Podlesny.”

And it doesn’t get any more straightforward than that — the incumbent Greg Joseph has won the 2023 kicking gig, barring a bizarre late-summer free-agent acquisition.

Kicker Competition Is
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Joseph will enter Year Three as the Vikings kicker, hoping to carry the momentum of continuity and maintain his tremendous acumen for drilling clutch kicks.

The South African nailed five game-winning field goals in 2022, and that cold-blooded tactic isn’t often the norm in the state of Minnesota. Blair Walsh and Gary Anderson can attest. To be sure, after Joseph mind-numbingly missed a game-winning field goal in 2021 at the Arizona Cardinals, he hasn’t failed in a crucial late-game situation.

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Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Joseph ranked tops in the NFL among all kickers for game-winning field goals but oddly struggled with ‘the other stuff.’ He ranked 28th leaguewide in overall field goal kicking percentage and 31st in extra point percentage.

With his job intact, he’ll hope to clean up the final two metrics.

out Rookie Kicker
Georgia placekicker Jack Podlesny (96) watches his field goal fly through the uprights during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Missouri and Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Georgia won 43-6. © Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Podlesny, an undrafted rookie kicker, is the odd man out and will hit free agency like Joseph’s main competition last year, a man named Gabe Brkic. Neither could dethrone Joseph from the Vikings kicker job and now continue their journies elsewhere.

The Georgia alumnus led the NCAA in scoring last year with 151 points, so he has the ‘volume guy’ attribute on his resume. He also connected on 83.9% of field goal attempts, the third-best mark in the country. The man is accurate. Podlesny hit a few 50+ yard field goals at Vikings training camp. But his production in Eagan wasn’t quite enough to take the primary gig.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Last summer, the Vikings conducted a ‘punter battle’ between veteran Jordan Berry and then-rookie Ryan Wright. Berry was favored in Vikings fans’ minds to retain the job, but Wright boomed a few punts in the preseason, winning the job outright last August. Some believed Podlesny could replicate the feat, but no cigar.

The Vikings haven’t employed the same kicker consecutively for three or more seasons since the aforementioned Walsh from 2012 to 2016.

Joseph turned 29 earlier this month.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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