Greg Joseph’s missed field goal as time expires extends Vikings’ historic kicking woes

GLENDALE, Ariz. — For the fatalist Vikings fans out there, it would be unbelievable if it wasn’t so, well, believable.

A swing of the leg. A missed field goal. A heartbreaking loss.

You can add Greg Joseph to the long list of maligned Minnesota kickers that most notably includes Gary Anderson, Blair Walsh and Daniel Carlson.

With a chance to win the game on Sunday afternoon at State Farm Stadium, Joseph pushed a 37-yard field goal wide right as time expired, and the Vikings suffered a heartbreaking 34-33 loss to the Arizona Cardinals to fall to 0-2 on the season.

For Joseph, it was the conclusion of a roller-coaster game, during which he made a pair of 52-yard field goals and missed an extra point.

Though that missed PAT proved costly as the Vikings would have been tied with the Cardinals had he made it, Joseph had a chance to atone for his mistake in the final seconds. He crumbled.

Some people will say the Vikings should have tried to gain more yards on the final drive to make the potential game-winning kick a little easier. Kirk Cousins completed a pass K.J. Osborn at the 19-yard line on the final play before Joseph’s field-goal attempt.

With about 40 seconds left at that point, the Vikings were content to let the clock tick away before calling timeout. Asked if he thought about trying to gain more yards, coach Mike Zimmer replied, “Yeah, I thought about all those things.”

In the end, though, he was content with Joseph lining up for the 37-yard field goal. The ball was in the middle of the field. All that was left to do was split the uprights.

“I felt good about that kick,” Zimmer said. “He’s been kicking good. We’re indoors. It’s a perfect surface. I’m thinking, ‘This should be an easy one here.’ ”

As the the kick sailed wide right — not wide left like Vikings fans are used to — punter Jordan Berry slapped Joseph on the back in encouragement. Meanwhile, the Cardinals celebrated raucously, sprinting up and down the field with elation.

“That kick didn’t lose us the game,” Osborn said. “It’s a bunch of different plays throughout the game.”

In that same breath, Osborn mentioned how Joseph nailed a 53-yard field goal last week against Cincinnati to send that game into overtime.

“He’s going to keep knocking them in for us,” Osborn said. “It happens. We love him. That’s our guy.”

Asked about Joseph’s misfire, Cousins took the same approach as Osborn.

“He knows we’re here for him,” Cousins said. “What he did last week is no small feat. It was a very difficult thing to do. There were so many plays out there that each of us, individually, would like to have back, and that’s the way it’ll always be.”

Zimmer praised Joseph for his ability before adding that he would like to see him be more consistent. Does he expect Joseph to be the kicker moving forward?

“I don’t think you should make a decision today on things like that,” the coach said. “I don’t think you make decisions on personnel right after a guy misses a kick.”

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