Former Vikings Kicker Gets Axed by the Packers

Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs kicker Jack Podlesny (96) kicks from the hold of quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) against the TCU Horned Frogs during the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the journey continues for the former Vikings kicker.

Jack Podlesny was briefly with the Vikings last offseason. He was brought aboard as part of the UDFA haul to function as competition for Greg Joseph. In a strange twist of irony, Joseph has beat him out once again as Green Bay has decided to move on. The word comes courtesy of KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson: “#Packers released Jack Podlesny.”

Jack Podlesny, the Former Vikings Kicker, Gets Cut by Packers

Over at Vikings Territory, Dustin Baker covers the news.

Baker points out that the competition now shrinks down to Joseph and Anders Carlson, the younger brother to another former Vikings kicker: Daniel Carlson. Keeping up with all of the former kickers? Currently, it’s a dizzying array over in Wisconsin, though it should be noted that Anders has no direct connection to Minnesota apart from seeing them on the schedule twice a season.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals
Dec 16, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) kicks off against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Podlesny did his college work with Georgia, a major program.

Baker fills in some of the details: “In the NCAA, extra points are still automatic from 20 yards away, and the Bulldog had no problems in that area. On his strengths, Podlesny has big-game kicking experience — because that’s what one does at the University of Georgia. He kicked at Georgia for three years, tabulating a 61 for 74 (82.9%) success rate on field goals and hitting 182 of 184 extra points.”

But there are limitations to his game. The NFL scouting blurb points toward the issues: “Podlesny has kicked in some big games, but he missed two attempts in a narrow victory over Ohio State during last season’s playoff semifinal. He also has a poor success rate on kicks from distance. Consistency and power are key, and Podlesny falls a little short in those areas.”

Sep 24, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; A Green Bay Packers helmet sits on the sidelines during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As of right now, the NFC North is looking like a rapidly-improving crew. The Detroit Lions came ultra close to representing the NFC in the Super Bowl and Green Bay went on a playoff run. Most seem to think that they’ll be at the top of the division in 2024.

And then Chicago is now operating under the guidance of Caleb Williams. The expectation far and wide is that Williams is the real deal. If he lives up to the hype, Williams will be a thorn in Minnesota’s side for the next decade (or more).

Add it all together and the Vikings find themselves in a difficult spot. The division is the first and most pressing context for making the playoffs. Simply distinguishing oneself among the four-team cluster guarantees a spot in the tournament. Better yet, division winners even get to host at least a single playoff game. The Vikings are by no means a sure thing to fail in 2024, but they do face an uphill battle.

Nov 11, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide place kicker Will Reichard (16) celebrates with Alabama Crimson Tide running back Jam Miller (26) during the first quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

One way the Vikings may be able to gain an edge is if their own special teams are formidable. Will Reichard was drafted in the 6th and there’s optimism that he’ll be the long-term K1 that Minnesota has coveted for so long.

Jack Podlesny is still only 24. For his NFL career, he has signed contracts in Minnesota and Green Bay. Hopefully, he’s able to snag an opportunity elsewhere before too long.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.