Sebastian Janikowski could cure the Minnesota Vikings’ kicking woes

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Sebastian Janikowski
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Sebastian Janikowski /

Scheduled to become a free-agent this offseason, could the place-kicker be worth the Minnesota Vikings adding to their roster in 2018?

There is arguably no position more panic-inducing on a year-in, year-out basis for Minnesota Vikings fans than kicker. No matter which player is occupying the role, that player seems sure to miss kicks that most NFL kickers routinely make.

After Blair Walsh missed a 27-yarder at the end of the Vikings’ 2015 wild card game in TCF Bank Stadium, Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer seems to have been lacking confidence in his team’s kicking game. With Kai Forbath set to become an unrestricted free-agent this year, the Vikings now seem to be in the market for a new kicker.

If the price is right, Sebastian Janikowski might be able to alleviate some of the uneasiness caused by the traumatic kicking events of years past.

Since the extra point was moved back to the 15-yard line in 2015, Minnesota kickers have made only 85 percent of their extra point attempts while Janikowski has had a 96 percent success rate in that time.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

Kicks from 20 to 39 yards out were converted by Vikings kickers 92 percent of the time, while Janikowski, a former first-round pick, was 27 for 28 (96 percent) from that range.

The Florida State product has been in the NFL for 18 seasons and has made more kicks over 50 yards (55) than anyone in league history. He has played in and converted kicks in a Super Bowl and would not be intimidated by any game situation presented to him.

Sure, he is 39-years-old and coming off of a year on injured reserve but Morten Anderson kicked until he was 47, Gary Anderson wore the single-bar facemask until he was 45, Adam Vinateri is 45 and still kicking and none of those guys have ever attempted a 76-yard field goal like Janikowski has.

Kickers are the strangest, most nomadic breed of players in the NFL and can be cut or picked up at a moments notice. Finding one who has had the same employer for 18 years is unprecedented.

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Given this franchise’s history in the kicking game and their recent struggles in the clutch, it seems wise for Minnesota to at least take a look.