4 biggest concerns to come out of Vikings training camp in 2021

(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Greg Joseph /

Kicking Game

The Vikings kicking game has been a sore spot ever since Mike Zimmer took over as the head coach back in 2014.

Minnesota has had some decent kickers during Zimmer’s tenure, but they have also had some disastrous performances including Blair Walsh missing a chip shot field goal that would’ve won a playoff game in 2015 and Daniel Carlson having a meltdown at Lambeau Field in 2017 that cost the team a win, and Carlson his job.

The Vikings didn’t exactly ensure success at this position in the offseason, as they signed a veteran who hasn’t kicked a field goal since 2018 in addition to signing an undrafted rookie to challenge him.

Greg Joseph hasn’t attempted a field goal since the 2018 season and he hasn’t hit an extra point since 2019. The guy is very rusty when it comes to actual game-day experience.

He was okay during this year’s training camp. He had some days where he would make a few kicks in a row and then miss one that should’ve gone through. He kicked like a guy who hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2019, and while that is concerning, it does mean he can continue to improve with increased reps.

Riley Patterson is the undrafted rookie who was brought in to challenge Joseph. Patterson is far behind in the competition since he was on the shelf for most of training camp and relegated to riding the bike during practice. He does have a strong leg, but he will need to be almost perfect moving forward to close the gap.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Vikings rotate their kickers in the preseason. If they give each one a game, and then split the last contest, it’ll show they view this as an equal competition. If they use one more than the other, that’ll tip their hand.

While either Patterson and Joseph could end up earning this job, this is a Minnesota team that looks ready to win a championship. That means they could scour the waiver wire after the final cuts are made in a few weeks and their 2021 kicker might actually be someone who currently is not on the roster.