Vikings’ Greg Joseph Sounds off on Solution to Team’s Kicking Woes

Greg Joseph

Getty Vikings kicker Greg Joseph is on the hot seat after the team signed undrafted rookie kicker Gabe Brkic.

Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph entered Monday’s press conference with a hat that read “Kindness. Pass it on.”

That’s what he received from his locker room after missing a costly game-clinching field goal in the final seconds of a 34-33 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

“After the game, like I said, no one took it harder than me, because I know what I’m capable of. I know I’m going to make that kick in the future,” Joseph said. “But a lot of the guys came up to my locker, told me they loved me, told me they have my back. Everyone – Dalvin (Cook), Thielen, K.J., Kirk, and the list goes on – C.J. [Ham] – they were letting me know that, ‘Hey, we’ve got your back.’ ”

His biggest frustration with missing the kick was not the blemish on his kicking resume but letting down the Vikings locker room.

“The only frustrating thing was letting those guys in the locker room down because I know how badly they wanted to win and how much they deserved to win,” Joseph said. “That hurt me more than anything because I was brought here to put this team in a position to win but every kicked missed is frustrating, but that’s why I have the confidence going forward. I’m going to make more than I’m going to miss.”

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Joseph’s Solution to Kicking Woes

Joseph was largely unaware of the problematic history the Vikings have had with kickers since Gary Anderson missed a field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship game. Those woes have accelerated during Mike Zimmer’s tenure as coach. He’s gone through five different kickers in eight years as a head coach.

Joseph, far from superstitious, did not buy into the history of kicking woes in Minnesota despite Dan Bailey’s struggles being the reason he landed with the Vikings this offseason.

“That’s for you guys to decide,” Joseph said, addressing how his missed kick contributes to the trend of kicking woes. “All I can control is what I do here every day as a Vikings.”

He’ll go back to fine-tuning his kicking form this week in practice. While no major adjustments are in order, Joseph gave his insight into what may have been the problem on Sunday.

“My contact feels good, but it’s just me following through on the ball more, just keeping my head down on some of those,” he said. “That’s obviously something I’m going to get back to the drawing board on this week.”

Joseph got rid of his social media before the season began to tune out any distractions. He offered his fine-tuning his kicking  to his pair of missed mid-range kicks.

He mad made a pair of 52-yard field goals earlier in the game before missing the 37-yard try that he pushed right of the goalposts. He also hit a 53-yard try that sent the Vikings into overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals last week.

However, Joseph has struggled on shorter kicks after also missing an extra point in the second quarter on Sunday.

“Life of an NFL kicker,” Joseph said, describing the all-or-nothing nature of the position. “Making some of those longer kicks shows me I’m capable of making the shorter ones as well. I just have to do a better job executing next time.

“That’s on me, this one’s on me. Trust me, that moment, no one felt that more than me. But it’s part of the job I signed up for. It’s part of an NFL kicker’s career and moving forward, excited to be put in that position again and come through for the team because nobody deserved that win more than the guys on the field. Didn’t work out this time, but on to the next.”

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‘I Promise, This is Not Going to Break Me’

Joseph received the full support of his locker room in the aftermath of an 0-2 start to the season.

Zimmer, who has accosted kickers for their performance in the past, mentioned several plays that cost the Vikings a win against the Cardinals.

“After the game (Zimmer) said to the team that ‘the game wasn’t lost on that last final kick,’ ” Joseph said. “Obviously, I know I had a chance to win the game,but that was kind of what he said, and I need to get better to help put wins in the column for this team.”

In his fourth season in the NFL, Joseph has hit 20-of-24 field-goal attempts (83.3%) and 25-of-29 extra-point tries (88.9%).

“It can be a make or break type deal (to your career), but I promise this is not going to break me,” Joseph said. “This is only going to propel me. It’s only going to motivate me and I’m going to put my head down and work at the end of the day that’s all I know”.

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