Vikings Kicker Greg Joseph Needs to Build Off Success

Aug 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (1) celebrates with long snapper Andrew DePaola (42) during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Things haven’t gone particularly well for Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph. Instead of a great start as Minnesota’s undisputed K1, Joseph has struggled through the 2022 season, leading to questions about whether he deserves to maintain the job.

After the season’s opening 9 weeks, Joseph finds himself at second-last in field goal percentage (according to PFR’s rankings). His extra point percentage, moreover, is less than stellar. In that department, Joseph is coming in last overall (again, per PFR).

Where can the Vikings and Greg Joseph go from here? Is it too simple to say that there’s nowhere to go but up?

For whatever it’s worth, there is some optimism out there that Joseph can have a significantly better second half of the season. VT’s Nate Powalie recently discussed Minnesota’s kicker, concluding that Joseph is “a reliable scoring threat in late-game situations” who can do good things for the purple and gold moving forward.

During the most recent game, the Vikings benefitted from Greg Joseph going 2/2 on his field goals and 2/2 on his extra points. The rock-solid day was needed given that the final score was 20-17. Now, Joseph wasn’t drilling kicks from 50+ yards, but we can’t fault him too much for simply doing a great job with the opportunities that were in front of him.

Being a successful kicker in the NFL requires both confidence and resilience. I imagine missing several kicks shakes one’s confidence, so that’s where the resilience really factors into the equation.

If the expected occurs, the Vikings will find themselves in a challenging game on the weekend. In most people’s minds, the Bills are among the NFL’s foremost teams, largely because of who’s under center. Their strengths go well beyond their QB, though.

Leslie Frazier – who used to be the HC in Minnesota – is Buffalos’ defensive coordinator. He has his group playing excellently. At present, they are first in the NFL in points allowed – a mere 14.8 per game, on average – and fourth in yards allowed – a mere 299.6 per game, on average. Being able to solve the Buffalo defense will likely be a great challenge for Kevin O’Connell and the offense.

The point, folks, is that some pristine play from the special teams would likely make a noticeable difference.

For the most part, Greg Joseph has run into (kicked into?) trouble when the Vikings have lined up for FGs that exceed 50 yards. He has hit 11 field goals and missed 5 field goals. All 5 misses have come from 50+. Perhaps O’Connell will conclude that anything at or above 50 needs to be a punt or a fourth down attempt. Perhaps O’Connell will allow Joseph to keep giving it his best shot.

To be clear, the issue isn’t with Joseph’s power, or lack thereof. Rather, it has been the accuracy and, at times, the trajectory of his kicks.

The main thing that Joseph can do moving forward is to give his head coach confidence in extra points and anything below 50 yards. From there, Joseph can keep drilling the ball deep on kickoffs (he does have good leg strength). If he does those things well, then the opportunities for deep kicks will follow. Hopefully, he can start nailing them with greater consistency.

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