The Minnesota Vikings snuck out of London with a victory on Sunday, in part because of key performances from their offense as well as their defense. However, it’s hard to deny the impact that the Vikings special teams had on this game. Between six made kicks and multiple huge plays, there are a number of players on the Vikings special teams unit that deserve praise. Here are three of them.
Greg Joseph may have missed an extra point attempt in the fourth quarter, but when it mattered, he came through. Once again, the Vikings offense struggled as they got closer to the end zone, scoring touchdowns on just two of their five red zone drives. Instead, they forced Greg Joseph to give them points with his right foot, and he did just that.
The Vikings scored a total of 16 points courtesy of Greg Joseph, including the 47-yarder that proved to be the game-winner. Of course, he also missed an XP attempt along the way, but in a Vikings game with that many kicks, at least one miss is the expectation.
Since his preseason breakout in 2021, Kris Boyd has not quite emerged as the CB that we all thought he could be, but on Sunday his special teams presence came up in a big way. With the Vikings going into the second half with a 13-6 lead, Minnesota went three-and-out on their opening drive and punted to the Saints.
Deonte Harty took the punt two yards before Kris Boyd popped him with a massive hit that knocked the ball loose. The Vikings recovered the fumble, and while they couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone, stretching the lead to two scores at that point in the game proved to be massive.
Typically, when you see praise for a punter it’s a bad thing. The entire point of a punter is surrendering a drive a giving the ball back to the opposing team. Ryan Wright did that portion of his job thrice, pinning the Saints inside their own 20 on two separate occasions.
However, the actual punting was not the highlight of Wright’s day. On a 4th-and-2 with under two minutes left in the third quarter, the Vikings lined up as if they were going to punt the ball from midfield up 16-14. Then, Wright took the snap and threw a strike to Jalen Nailor for a 13-yard gain to keep the drive alive. This ultimately ended in another Vikings field goal, but again, any points that the Vikings got on Sunday were crucial to their victory.
Overall, this was another hard-fought win for the Vikings where many mistakes were made on both sides of the ball. However, these issues on offense and defense eventually should be resolved as the season continues progressing.
The Vikings special teams, on the other hand, have not missed a beat under new coordinator Matt Daniels. Seemingly every week there is a big play from this unit. If this group can stay consistent, it only makes their pursuit of the playoffs that much easier.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken