Admit that the thought has crossed your mind already, if only for a second.
It didn’t make much of a wave when the Minnesota Vikings released kicker Gabe Brkic. But when the Green Bay Packers signed him, you had to think: Did the Vikings just cut the next great Packers kicker?
Minnesota has as steady of a relationship with kickers as pineapple does with pizza. It just hasn’t worked.
Name a kicker for the Vikings in the last decade, and there’s a corresponding disaster. That list has to include Daniel Carlson, who has turned into one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL with the Las Vegas Raiders after the Vikings cut him following a few bad games.
Now it could happen again with Brkic.
Mason Crosby is getting old, and Father Time waits for no man. Crosby had an abysmal 2021 campaign, yet he’s back for Green Bay in 2022 — but not without competition. So far, nobody has stuck. Perhaps Brkic will.
It will be cruel irony for the Vikings if Brkic turns out to be great for Green Bay. Whatever can go wrong for Minnesota at the position has gone wrong. It would just be the next in a long list of agonizing results.
You can’t blame the Vikings for this recent occurrence. They wanted competition for Greg Joseph and plucked Brkic after he went undrafted. Brkic was solid at Oklahoma and widely regarded as one of the three best kickers in this past draft class. Some mocks had him as a seventh-round selection.
Brkic struggled mightily in camp, though, and the Vikings saw all they needed to before the competition got further into the summer.
Joseph isn’t awful either. Does he inspire a wealth of confidence? No. But that’s a tall order for any kicker who puts on the purple and gold given the emotional scars Vikings fans have.
Joseph missed five field goals and four extra points last year. One of those was unfortunately a missed chip-shot that would’ve beat the Arizona Cardinals as time expired. He rebounded nicely, but the thought of clutch kicks for Joseph from any distance incited nail-biting in Vikings fans.
It seemed as though the Vikings brought in Brkic to be a legitimate contender instead of an afterthought whose purpose was to push a veteran in camp. But his struggles were significant enough that the idea of a competition fizzled out quicker than Blair Walsh‘s kick against the Seahawks in the 2016 playoffs.
Had Brkic ended up anywhere else, it would be a non-story at this juncture. Like Carlson to the Raiders, there was no initial heat. Now Vikings fans mutter under their breath every time there’s a clip of Carlson ripping through another field goal from 50-plus yards out.
That’s not an exaggeration, either. Carlson was 40 of 43 on field goals last year, the most makes of any kicker in the NFL. He was 6 of 7 from 50 or more yards.
Of course it worked out that way.
The best-case scenario for the sanity of Vikings fans is that Crosby cleans things up this summer and hangs on to the job. Sure, there’s always the possibility that Crosby delivers a dagger or two against Minnesota. However, the pain would be lessened if it were Crosby swinging the boot on a game-winner against Minnesota instead of Brkic. That’s what nightmare fuel is made of.
A transition from purple to green could’ve happened at almost any other position and it’d be fine. Za’Darius Smith and Chandon Sullivan both hopped across from the Packers to the Vikings this offseason. Smith was a massive signing, but the Packers haven’t had any sort of curse at the edge rusher position like the Vikings appear to have at kicker.
Imagine being a non-Vikings fan reading this. The possibility of being diagnosed with extreme paranoia would be on the table. But that’s the life of Vikings fans now. They have to follow along with or at least keep tabs on the kicking situation in Green Bay.
If history rears its ugly head again, Brkic will go on to have a steady career in Green Bay and will blister kicks through the uprights at Lambeau Field.
For once, just the one time, it’d be nice if the football Gods let the Vikings have a win.
Brkic Watch in Green Bay is now a thing.