Vikings kicker Greg Joseph, a soccer player at heart, shines across the pond in London
He finished 5 for 5 on field goals — including a 47-yarder with 24 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner — to help the Vikings to a 28-25 win over the New Orleans Saints.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph grew up playing soccer in his native South Africa, dreaming of playing on the pitch for Manchester United.
He got pretty darn close to living out that childhood dream this past Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, though he was playing football for the Vikings, not soccer for Man United.
Nonetheless, it was something the 28-year-old Joseph will never forget. He finished 5 for 5 on field goals — including a 47-yarder with 24 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner — to help the Vikings to a 28-25 win over the New Orleans Saints.
“A surreal, surreal experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Joseph, who noted that his grandpa was a Tottenham fan. “Just doing it in a stadium that he would’ve absolutely loved to see means a lot to me.”
Joseph was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week on Wednesday morning for his efforts. He’s the first Vikings player to win NFC Player of the Week honors under new coach Kevin O’Connell.
“Oh it’s awesome,” Joseph said before immediately shifting the focus to his teammates. “I think it’s a team award. Credit to (quarterback Kirk Cousins) and the offense for getting us down there. Credit to the big boys up front helping me make kicks. Credit to the snap and the hold.”
Maybe the most impressive thing about Joseph’s 47-yarder in London was that he had missed an extra point on the previous possession. That would be enough to send some kickers into a tailspin. Not Joseph.
“That was a big kick and I was locked in for the moment,” Joseph said. “I knew if given the opportunity I was going to give it everything I had.”
No matter if Joseph makes or misses a kick, it’s clear the Vikings feel confident any time he trots onto the field.
“My confidence level could not be higher in Greg, so for him to go 5 for 5 and be the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week is not a surprise to me,” O’Connell said. “He’s got a clear-cut focus every time he goes to hit it, and it’s paying off.”
Asked about Joseph last week, special teams coordinator Matt Daniels predicted an impressive performance in London. Never mind that Joseph was coming off a pair of missed 56-yard field goals in the Vikings’ 28-24 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 3.
“I still have the utmost confidence in him,” Daniels said. “I know he’ll bounce back and be ready to go.”
That’s exactly what Joseph did. He’s 8 for 10 on field goals this season, including a 56-yarder in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers that tied the franchise record. He’s been perfect on field goals from less than 50 yards.
Not too bad for a soccer player at heart.
“Nothing changes for me,” Joseph said. “That’s just me doing my job. Thankful for the team for putting me in that position. Just want to keep putting it through and keep putting this team in a position to win.”
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