Joseph Takes Blame For Loss, Zim Defends Kicker

Mike Zimmer
Dec 30, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on the sidelines in the fourth quarter against Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Joseph spoke about his confidence and resilience during the offseason. Those attributes will now get tested.

Wearing a hat that says “Kindness. Pass it on,” Joseph began his press conference by explaining his role in Minnesota’s loss on Sunday and how he felt following the miss. “In that moment,” he explained, “no one felt that more than me.” He later said, “I promise this is not going to break me.”

For the next eight minutes, Joseph fielded questions about his miss. He handled them all with aplomb, consistently reiterating his confidence in himself and how he takes responsibility for the loss. According to Joseph, Zimmer addressed the team immediately following the game, explaining that the loss wasn’t on the kicker. Several players also offered their support.

One thing that fans need to keep in mind is that Joseph sent us to OT against the Bengals. I know we ended up losing, but we don’t even get the chance to blame the refs and/or lament Dalvin’s fumble unless Joseph comes up clutch a week earlier. It’s also notable that he has hit all three of his 50+ yard field goals. Now isn’t the time to move on from Joseph, folks.

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Zimmer offered his support for his kicker during his press conference. The opening questions, predictably, focused on the missed kick and Joseph’s status on the team. Zim was quick to note how Joseph had hit several long kicks and the clutch one against Cincinnati. He also said that Joseph’s miss “wasn’t the reason why we lost the game.” While answering another question, Zim suggested that “lots of kickers miss field goals” and that we ought to “give the kid a break.”

Purple fans have been through more than their fair share of kicking woes. For many, the call for another chance will be completely unpersuasive. It does happen to be the right thing to do, though. If Minnesota does better on third downs, perhaps we don’t need to have that kick at the end. If Minnesota doesn’t get lost in coverage several times, perhaps we don’t need to go for that field goal. Hitting that field goal would have made those things less important, but the broader point remains that this loss doesn’t fall solely on Joseph.

The special teams, by and large, have played well so far. Joseph’s miss really stings. Even still, we ought to avoid overreacting to the miss at the end of the Arizona game. I, for one, will be cheering for him against Seattle. Will I be nervous when he steps up for another field goal? Of course, but I’m cheering for him to overcome the purple kicker curse.

In my recent piece about Cameron Dantzler, I noted that resilience comes when people are given the opportunity to work through adversity. Doing so allows them to be stronger on the other side. Hopefully, these early struggles will lead to a kicker who is more resilient going forward.