Who’s the New Vikings Kicker?

out Rookie Kicker
Georgia placekicker Jack Podlesny (96) watches his field goal fly through the up rights during the first half of a 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.

The Minnesota Vikings re-signed incumbent kicker Greg Joseph in March, but he won’t be handed the 2023 job without a little competition.

Why? Well, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah welcomed Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny via undrafted free agency right after the draft, and like last year, Joseph may have a mini-competition afoot.

Who’s the New Vikings Kicker?

In 2022, kicker Gabe Brkic was added at the same time of year, but he didn’t last long. Summer arrived, and the kicker job belonged to Joseph. Then, during the 2022 season, Joseph fired up these kicker rankings:

Greg Joseph,
NFL Rankings,
in 2022:

Game-Winning Field Goals = 1st
FG Conv % = 28th
Extra Point Conv % = 31st

So, it was sweet and salty for the Vikings and Joseph, and perhaps that’s why Podlesny will get a look.

the New
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

Podlesny 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.

His leg strength, though, might be a little suspect, and if he doesn’t oust Joseph this summer, fans can attribute the result to it. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein summarized Podlesny’s skillset leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, “Podlesny has kicked in some big games, but he missed two attempts in a narrow victory over Ohio State during last season’s playoff semifinal. He also has a poor success rate on kicks from distance. Consistency and power are key, and Podlesny falls a little short in those areas.”

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

In the NCAA, extra points are still ‘automatic’ from 20 yards away, and the Bulldog had no problems in that area. If he did, he wouldn’t be on the Vikings current roster. But on his strengths, Podlesny has big-game kicking experience — because that’s what one does at the University of Georgia. He kicked at Georgia for three years, tabulating a 61 for 74 (82.9%) success rate on field goals and hitting 182 of 184 extra points. Not bad.

The naughty part, however, even exceeds the traditional beyond-50-yards metric. Podlesny produced a 54% accuracy on field goals of 40+ yards at Georgia, a stat that could absolutely be a nonstarter in the pros. We shall see.

Georgia place kicker Jack Podlesny (96) watches as his kick flies through the uprights for a field goal during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Georgia Tech and Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Georgia won 37-14. © Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Here’s his career-long — a game-winner from the 2020 Peach Bowl:

On the whole, Podlesny is unlikely to dethrone Joseph in 2023 but could head toward a practice squad assignment. Always remember — nobody thought rookie punter Ryan Wright would top 2021 punter Jordan Berry last summer, until he did.

Podlesny turned 23 in March.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.