Minnesota has the most snakebitten kicker history in the NFL. With a few rare exceptions, Vikings fans are doomed to expect a miss any given time the team lines up for an extra point or field goal attempt. Fans have endured the infamous Blair Walsh miss, the historic Gary Anderson miss in the NFC Championship Game, or the rash decision to cut Daniel Carlson (who now is almost automatic for the Las Vegas Raiders). It doesn’t help that every team that plays Minnesota never misses their attempts either. Last year offered a mixed bag, and maybe it’s time for a new start – again.
Greg Joseph, the Vikings’ kicker last season, remains on the roster so far in 2023. Joseph was decently successful in 2022. He connected on five game-winning field goals, an NFL record. If the game was on the line, you could reasonably count on him to be clutch. However, Joseph also only converted 26 of his total 33 FG attempts. Even worse, he missed six of his 46 extra point attempts (87% conversion). The latter stat was good for 29th in the league.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 27, 2022
The team is putting pressure on him this offseason. They added Jack Podlesny as an UDFA from Georgia as competition. Podlesny has a ridiculous 99% conversion on XPs and was 84% on FGs for the Bulldogs. He earned All-SEC First-Team and SEC Special Teams Player of the Year honors. He also knows how to kick in high-pressure moments, having played in the SEC and winning back-to-back National Championships. One of his best kicks? A 53-yard make for a comeback win over a then 9-0 #8 Cincinnati:
DAWGS ON TOP 🔥
Jack Podlesny hits a career-long 53-yard FG to cap the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl comeback for Georgia! pic.twitter.com/eMPZjKbW3f
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 1, 2021
Joseph has not been remarkable thus far in training camp. He missed 5 of 8 on the August 3rd night practice, though he did finish off the “game winner” drill with a make from 57. Meanwhile, Podlesny made 3 of 4. In total for training camp, Joseph is 12/15 and Podlesny is 7/8.
Greg Joseph has played admirably during his Vikings tenure, but there is a real likelihood that he isn’t the one kicking off the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If things keep playing out like they have this week, Podlesny could reasonably supplant him as the long-term option. It’s time for Minnesota to have stability at the kicking position, but keeping Joseph just for the sake of continuity might be the wrong choice. Roster cutdown day is still a long way off, but the two-time national champion kicker will likely be on the field September 10th.