Veteran Kicker Should Be on Minnesota’s Radar

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings don’t currently have a kicker signed to their roster, with Greg Joseph a free agent. That obviously has to change, and with free agency about to begin, one veteran kicker should be on Minnesota’s radar.

Veteran Should Be on Vikings Kicker Radar

That man is Nick Folk, employed by the Tennessee Titans last season. Tom Pelissero broke the news on the X app on Saturday that the veteran was looking to test the waters of free agency — news that should alert the decision-makers in the Twin Cities. During his career, the 16-year veteran had also had spells in New England, Dallas, Tampa Bay, and the Jets. Folk has a career field goal success rate of 83.8% and north of 90% in three of the last four seasons.

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Tennessee Titans place kicker Nick Folk (6) leaves the field after kicking the game-winning field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers during overtime at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Folk is maturing like a fine wine. He missed just one field goal last season — a career-high 96.7% success rate — and is a reliable veteran kicker who would offer more consistency than Joseph has over the previous three seasons in Minnesota. Both kickers would cost around $2 million to sign for a season.

Consistently has been the problem for Joseph. He has made long kicks — 61 yards as a career-best — and clutch kicks to win games. However, there have been far too many misses. Having failed to improve his consistency over three seasons, it’s time for Minnesota to move on from the South African and find a new kicker.

the Radar
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

I looked at the Vikings’ need to address the kicker position back in January, with Folk circled as one of the top options. One of the other top options — Ka’imi Fairbairn — has already re-signed with the Houston Texans. This leaves Folk as the best option if the Vikings want to bring in a veteran kicker at a reasonable price. I would expect Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to be making inquiries.

Veteran or Rookie?

The other option for the Vikings is to turn to a rookie kicker. They could use a Day 3 draft pick on one of the highest-rated kickers in this year’s draft. Harrison Mevis, Joshua Karty, Will Reichard, and Cam Little are those players. Making that move would mean the Vikings will put the rookie in place to take on the kicking duties. Alternatively, if Minnesota now fills the position with a veteran, the Vikings could hold fire and look to pick up a rookie kicker as an undrafted free agent. 

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

If Folk is the veteran signing, a younger contingency plan makes sense. It allows the Vikings to dip their toes in both worlds and have a kicking competition during training camp, as they did with Jordan Berry and Ryan Wright for the punter position a couple of years ago.

Even if Folk takes the job, keeping the rookie around on the practice squad is always an option. It’s a smart move that isn’t expensive and gives Minnesota flexibility at the position.

NFL free agency begins on Monday with “legal tampering.”