Why the Will Reichard Draft Pick Was Worth It

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The Minnesota Vikings added 24 rookies a couple of weeks ago — seven from the draft and 17 from undrafted free agency.

Why the Will Reichard Draft Pick Was Worth It

The roster now stands at 90 men for the spring and summer before the customary 53-man trimdown in late August.

will reichard
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Of course, as usual, some lamented the draft pick of a kicker, saying that selecting men from that position is considered taboo. NFL analysts claim kickers should never be drafted, instead plucked from undrafted free agency, free of charge from any capital.

But here’s why Reichard (pronounced Reich-herd) was worth it.

1. It Was Time to Move On from Greg Joseph

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Let’s get this out of the way: Greg Joseph was cold-blooded — in a good way — most of the time when a football game was on the line. That’s how he stuck around for the Vikings since the start of 2021. He missed a game-winning kick in Week 2 of 2021, but thereafter, the man didn’t miss in crunchtime.

Yet, outside of those situations, Joseph was incredibly mediocre, if not downright poor. He routinely missed extra points more than most good kickers in the business. And in back-to-back seasons, so 2022 and 2023, Joseph ranked in the NFL’s bottom six per overall field goal percentage.

Someone must say it — he wasn’t very good.

Therefore, it was time to move on from Joseph, and Minnesota needed a plan for the post-Joseph era when it decided to say sayonara. Undoubtedly, Reichard was one of the options, and the Vikings pounced. They got their guy. Is that really a bad thing?

2. Longstanding Kicking Woes

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Chat with any Vikings fan for longer than two minutes, and the conversation will devolve into swapping war stories about where each person was when Gary Anderson or Blair Walsh missed a kick. Such malarkey is ingrained deep in Vikings fans’ bones.

Since Ryan Longwell departed the club after 2011, no Vikings kicker has lasted more than four seasons. Walsh met his demise soon after the 2015 postseason, and ever since, Minnesota has hoped to find another, well, Longwell.

The Vikings have also struggled to find their organically drafted or discovered kicker. Longwell came from the Green Bay Packers. Once and for all — much like a long-term QB1 — Minnesota needed to unearth its homegrown kicker and employ that gent for five years or more.

Reichard provides hope in that regard.

3. How Does a Team Get the Best Kicker if It’s “Not Allowed” to Draft One?

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Some analysts and fans scream to high heavens that drafting kickers is silly — basically arguing it’s a wasted draft pick because kickers can be plucked from undrafted free agency.

Well, fine. But how does a team obtain the best kicker available if it’s involved in a 32-team bidding war? Cross fingers and pray? Drafting Reichard with a 6th-Round pick was not expensive. It also guaranteed that Minnesota secured the specialist it wanted.

Think of it this way: if the Vikings wanted Reichard as their solution, the only surefire method was to invest a late-round draft pick. That should not be considered a travesty or malpractice.

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).

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