The Minnesota Vikings are bringing back kicker Greg Joseph this season. There’s no competition, and Mike Zimmer isn’t up to his weekly antics suggesting all of the legs are walking on thin ice. Matt Daniels has publicly praised his placekicker, the opposite, so are we now all doomed?
Maybe Matt Daniels is unaware of Gary Anderson’s missed field goal in 1998. Perhaps he never saw Blair Walsh shank it against the Seattle Seahawks. Has he not been told that Las Vegas Raiders star Daniel Carlson used to be employed here? At any rate, it seems he doesn’t care.
Daniels told the Pioneer Press that Joseph “will have the best year of his career.” If there’s a state relating to sports that believes in jinxes, it’s this one.
It isn’t just the Special Teams coaches taking note, either. Kevin O’Connell told the Pioneer Press, “When that toe hits that football right now, the sound of it, I equate it to a lot of times to Major League Baseball scouts. They want to go hear the ball hit the glove, or hear what it sounds like when it comes off the bat. Right now, when he’s kicking, it just feels like you don’t even need to watch the ball. It’s going in from 50-plus.”
Chris Tomasson notes on Twitter that Joseph is 3-for-3 from 58 yards out and that he’s nailed a 65-yarder without the help of wind. All of this sounds increasingly good for a Vikings team that has been left heartbroken so often by kickers of late.
This is Joseph’s fifth year in the National Football League. His 17 games for the Vikings last season were the most he’s played since getting 14 games for the Cleveland Browns in 2018. He went 33-for-38 last season and was 7-for-9 from 50-or-more yards out. Joseph also connected on 36-of-40 extra point attempts.
In and of themselves, Joseph’s numbers are solid. The average field goal conversion rate late season was 85.1%, with an extra-point success rate of 93.4%. Joseph was above the midline regarding field goals but below when considering extra points.
There’s no denying Vikings fans would love to see a kicker be as automatic as Anderson was. Heck, they’d love to redo Zimmer’s brazen decision to jettison Carlson. Still throwing this much praise at a guy before a game has even taken place only gives opportunity for hand-wringing later. Let the optimism reign. Let’s just also hope we see reason for it.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.