Should Vikings Bring Back Greg Joseph?

If you are a Minnesota Vikings fan, kickers bring up nothing but emotional scars. Misses by Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh are etched on the memory, and Vikings fans are certain kickers are cursed.

Heading into the 2023 season, Minnesota doesn’t currently have a kicker on the roster. Should the Vikings bring back Greg Joseph? The South African has been on kicking duties in Minnesota for the last two seasons, — with mixed results. Has he done enough to warrant a third year?

Should Vikings Bring Back Greg Joseph?

Bring Back Greg
Greg Joseph

The talent is there. Joseph has the leg for the big kicks. He showed it with a career-long field goal of 61 yards. He’s also proven on numerous occasions he can keep his cool when the game is on the line and make game-winning kicks.

So, surely the Vikings will bring Joseph back? Not so fast. As much as the South African has proven he can be productive, there’s inconsistency.

Joseph was near-perfect from field goals under 50 yards, missing just once all season. However, past 50 yards, his conversion rate was disappointingly less than 50%, only making four of 10 attempts. Consistency under 50 yards and the ability to make big kicks, even if yet to be done consistently, are two positives for Joseph.

The biggest concern is his habit of missing extra points.

Missed extra points weren’t something new for Joseph, as he missed four in the 2021 season and also missed four the other time he was a starter in 2018 for the Cleveland Browns. Going into the 2022 season, the hope would have been to tidy up those indiscretions. Instead, it got worse, as Joseph missed six extra-point attempts. His conversion rate was 87%, down from 90% in 2021.

Do the Vikings Believe in Joseph?

How the Vikings Can Beat
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) celebrates the win after the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The subject of Joseph’s kicking came up at numerous points during the season. At different times, there were calls for him to be replaced, but whenever questioned, special teams coordinator Matt Daniels stood by his man. Daniels talked of just needing to iron out his technique, and the kicker, who the coach nicknamed G-Money, would be fine.

Indeed, Joseph appeared to be finishing the season strong, hitting every field goal attempt between Week 8 and Week 15. There was still a couple of extra point misses in that span, but Joseph looked solid. Then, two missed field goals against Green Bay and a missed extra point against Chicago brought the regular season to a shaky end.

The good news for Joseph is that he was perfect in the playoff game against the New York Giants. How confident should the Vikings be that Joseph is the right man to continue kicking duties? They showed faith in him during last season, but will that faith be shown when it requires a new contract?

A Kicking Competition?

Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell on the sideline during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

I don’t think the Vikings will rush out and spend money on a free-agent kicker. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take the same route as they did with punter last year.

Like Jordan Berry, Greg Joseph is given a contract with minimal guaranteed money, and the Vikings bring in a rookie or young kicker to compete in training camp. If the young kicker proves to be capable — much like Ryan Wright last year — then he makes the roster and Joseph is cut, likely saving the Vikings some valuable money in the process. That can be used somewhere else on the roster.

After all, that’s what training camp is about, and competition across the board is the environment that you want.