MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings are moving on from Sunday’s 34-33 loss at the Arizona Cardinals and an 0-2 start, but the talk on Monday continued to be about the kicker.
With the game on the line, Greg Joseph missed from 37 yards out in the middle of the field as time expired. He missed an extra point after Minnesota’s first touchdown, then made a pair of field goals from 52 yards. Joseph addressed reporters on Monday about the franchise’s latest big miss.
"This one’s on me. Trust me, in that moment, no one felt that more than me. 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," Joseph said. "Nobody deserved that win more than the guys on the field."
Joseph added, "I know what I’m capable of and I know I’m going to make that kick in the future, but a lot of guys came up to me in the locker room and told me they love me, told me they have my back, everyone. Dalvin (Cook), (Adam) Thielen, KJ (Osborn), Kirk, CJ (Ham), the list goes on. This doesn’t define me, and they know that. This one kick doesn’t definite me as a human or as an athlete. I promise this is not going to break me, this is only going to propel me."
Joseph, sporting a "Kindness. Pass it on" hat, said it’s the life that comes with being an NFL kicker.
"Just have to do a better job in executing next time," Joseph said. "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. That hurt me more than anything, because I was brought here to put this team in a position to win.
Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer has shown little patience for errant kicks in key situations in the past. He came to the defense of Joseph on Monday.
"This kid has kicked well, he missed a couple this week. That wasn’t the reason why we lost the game. Lots of kickers miss field goals. Let’s give the kid a break, OK?" Zimmer said.
ADAM THIELEN: ‘WE’RE SICK OF GETTING CLOSE’
Zimmer said after Sunday’s loss they’re probably two plays away from being 2-0. He’s referring to Dalvin Cook’s fumble in overtime at Cincinnati, and Joseph’s miss.
He’s optimistic the Vikings can turn it around and make the 2021 season a success. That starts this week, with the home opener against the Seattle Seahawks. It’s the first of three straight home games, with the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions to follow.
Adam Thielen, who has 131 yards and three touchdowns through two games, says it’s important for the Vikings to stick together amid an 0-2 start.
"You’ve got to find a way. Just find a way, it’s not going to be pretty, it could be ugly but we’ve got to find a way. We’ve been getting close to that, but as Vikings fans are, we’re sick of getting close," Thielen said.
XAVIER WOODS: VIKINGS DEFNESE HAS ‘SUCKED AT THE END OF THE SECOND QUARTER’
For the second straight week, the Vikings gave up points at the end of the first half that came back to haunt them. Kyler Murray hit Rondale Moore for a 77-yard touchdown in a busted coverage. They got the ball back, and the Vikings missed three tackles on a Moore catch that allowed Matt Prater to end the half with a 62-yard field goal.
At Cincinnati, Ja’Marr Chase beat Bashaud Breeland for a long touchdown near the end of the first half.
"To be honest, we’ve sucked at the end of the second quarter. That’s where we’ve got to get better," said safety Xavier Woods, who had an interception in Sunday’s loss.
DID MAXX WILLIAMS SUPRRISE VIKINGS?
The Vikings spent all week preparing to contain Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk, only to give up big plays to Moore and former University of Minnesota standout Maxx Williams. The Waconia native had eight catches all of last season, and finished with seven for a career-high 94 yards on Sunday.
That includes a 34-yard grab that deflected off two Vikings’ defenders. Did Williams’ big day catch the Vikings by surprise?
"No, not really. We weren’t really that concerned about him, to be honest with you. They’ve got a lot of other good receivers. The one ball he caught was a tipped ball off Kendricks, so no," Zimmer said.