An Intriguing Free Agent Pops Up at an Unlikely Position
Throughout their history, the Minnesota Vikings have had consistent woes at one position in particular: kicker. Greg Joseph has come through in clutch moments over the past couple years, but he has had his own struggles with the Vikings, particularly kicking extra points and field goals from 50+ yards.
In 2022, Joseph hit 26-of-33 field goal attempts, a rate of 78.8%, but he went just 4-of-10 from 50+ yards out. He also missed six extra-point attempts, going 40-for-46. His six misses were the most in the NFL last year.
As a result, Minnesota has brought in Jack Podlesny, the former kicker for the Georgia Bulldogs, to give him some competition for the starting job this summer. During his collegiate career at Georgia, Podlesny hit 61-of-74 field goals and 182-of-184 extra-point attempts over the course of three seasons.
However, on Tuesday afternoon, another intriguing free agent popped up on the market at the kicker position. Brandon McManus announced on Twitter that he had been released by the Denver Broncos after nine seasons with the team.
McManus got his career in Denver started during 2014, and he made 9-of-13 field goal attempts and all 41 extra points during the regular season. A year later, he made kicks like clockwork, and that jumpstarted his career as one of the most consistent kickers in the league.
During 2015, he hit 30-of-35 field goals, including 5-of-7 from 50+ yards, and he made 35 out of his 36 extra points. In the playoffs, McManus made every single kick on the way to Denver’s Super Bowl victory, hitting all 10 field goals and three extra points.
Most recently, McManus had a bit of an inconsistent season in 2022, hitting 28-of-36 field goals, but Denver forced him to attempt 13 of these field goals from 50+ yards, and he hit eight of them.
Overall, though, McManus remains an extremely consistent kicker at the NFL level. In his career, the longtime Bronco has hit 81.4% of his field goals (223-of-274) and 96.9% of his extra-point attempts (277-of-286).
In the end, the most likely scenario is that Minnesota will keep their special teams in place for the 2023 season. Joseph got another contract with the Vikings this offseason for a reason, but it’s hard to look at a guy in McManus and not be intrigued by the skillset that he brings at the position. Minnesota has already brought in competition for Joseph this offseason, so perhaps it wouldn’t be that far-fetched of an idea to bring in another veteran.
McManus will turn 32 years old in July.
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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.