Anything related to kickers causes Minnesota Vikings fans anxiety, bewilderment, and paranoia.
And when the Green Bay Packers scoop a former Vikings kicker, like they did this week, the paranoia part of the cycle heightens. Minnesota signed kicker Gabe Brkic from Oklahoma in May but released the undrafted free agent shortly after June minicamp.
Put bluntly, he wasn’t very good, and Minnesota’s incumbent kicker, Greg Joseph, seemingly won the job after a two-day display in Eagan.
Now, though, Brkic crossed state lines and will try to push longtime Packers kicker Mason Crosby to the limit this summer. But here’s why that competition need not worry Vikings fans, a group that believes Brkic will become the next fabulous kicker for years in Green Bay — like Daniel Carlson with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Brkic Has to Suddenly Get Good
Brkic wasn’t released because Greg Joseph had an iron grip on the kicker job; Brkic was cut because he stunk. Of course, the rookie wasn’t bad in college — he was a Lou Groza Award finalist at Oklahoma — but he did not do himself any favors in his first glimpse of NFL action.
So, with the Packers later this summer, Brkic must prove his June experience with the Vikings was two bad days at the office. Consider this — June minicamp was the biggest event of his football life, and he flopped. That’s not a good start.
For Brkic to catch fire with the Packers and dethrone Crosby, everything at Vikings minicamp had to be a mirage. While possible, it’s not likely.
Crosby Has Kicked for GB Forever
If Brkic is to begin a pathway reminiscent of Daniel Carlson and the Raiders, he’ll have to ixnay Mason Crosby from a job he’s held for 15 years. Brkic couldn’t hang with Joeseph for 48 hours. Do you really think knocking off Crosby will be easier? Again — unlikely.
Crosby has encountered ups and downs before with Green Bay, and neither party ever ultimately leaves the altar. Last year was a rough season for Crosby — probably why Green Bay is auditioning alternate kicking options — but he usually “figures it out.” Plus, he’s pals with Aaron Rodgers, and Green Bay is best served to keep the moody passer happy — particularly after jettisoning his top offensive weapon, Davante Adams, a few months ago.
Indeed, it’s rotten to watch Carlson flourish with the Raiders, especially because the Vikings spent 5th-Round draft capital on the man. Yet, just because Carlson exorcised demons elsewhere and became an All-Pro kicker doesn’t mean every Vikings cast-off will follow suit.
There’s a tendency to point at players who excel after their Vikings tenures and say, “See, look how well he’s doing now.” But when a player goes elsewhere and flops — nobody cares. It’s not a newsworthy event. The Carlson example is notable, and people remember it accordingly.
It’s like a bad beat in poker.
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 Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).