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Greg Joseph Plays Hero Role With Game-Winning Kick on Final Play

MINNEAPOLIS — Truth be told, Greg Joseph didn't even see the biggest kick of his life go through the uprights.

But his 54-yard field goal on the final play of regulation was indeed good. And it was needed in the worst way as the Vikings managed to escape Week 5 with a 19-17 win over the Lions.

"I saw the initial trajectory and saw it was going in," Joseph said. "Then the rest … I was covered up by Brian O'Neill so I didn't even see it go through.

"So happy for all the guys in locker room," Joseph later added. "The team deserved that win, and so happy I was able to deliver. Credit to all the guys, they fought their butts off for 60 full minutes."

Some Vikings took different approaches on the last-second kick that capped off a wild final few minutes on Sunday.

How does Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer handle such situations?

"Eh, I usually don't look," Zimmer said. "I'm usually saying, if they're kicking, 'Miss this, blankety-blank,' and if we're kicking it it's, 'Make this, blankety-blank.' "

Alexander Mattison watched it all the way through and then shared a word of thanks for the Vikings kicker.

It was the Vikings running back who fumbled at the Minnesota 20-yard line with under two minutes left, which allowed the Lions to take the lead on a touchdown and two-point conversion three plays later.

"I talked to Greg and he talked to me and he said, 'You got my back, I got your back,' and so that's what this team is about," Mattison said. "We go in there, we fight together every single day.

"We put in the work so we can get better every single day so we can go out there on Sundays and perform and have each other's back," Mattison added.

Joseph's game-winner was the second of his career. The other was a 37-yarder in overtime of Week 5 of the 2018 season. That kick gave Cleveland a 12-9 win over Baltimore.

His make Sunday helped erase the bad taste from a missed 37-yarder at the end of regulation against Arizona in Week 2. And it atoned for a missed 49-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that fell short.

"That's the way the league goes," Joseph said. "There's so many games decided by three or less points.

"Just hit my ball. You know, [I] felt good on the 49, just caught too much ground," Joseph added. "Just kept my eyes on the ball, just like the one before, and fixed my mistake."

Joseph had a busy day on an afternoon in which the Vikings scored just one offensive touchdown for the second straight week.

He hit back-to-back kicks from 38 yards out on the Vikings first two possessions of the game, and then added an extra point after Mattison's 15-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.

Joseph then nailed a career-long attempt from 55 yards late in the fourth quarter to seemingly put the Vikings up for good. That was also the longest field goal in Vikings history against the Lions and is tied for the second-longest for a Minnesota player against any opponent.

View game action photos of the Vikings battling the Lions in the Week 5 matchup at U.S. Bank Stadium.

But a wacky sequence of events — including his missed kick from 49 yards — meant he would need to be called upon again on the game's final play.

"I was locked in and ready for any opportunity, no matter the distance," Joseph said.

From the sideline, Adam Thielen had no doubt Joseph would deliver.

"That's the type of person he is," Thielen said. "He's a competitive guy, which I love. I remember looking back to OTAs when he first got here. We were sitting in here like, 'Man, has he missed all of OTAs?' Literally, he did not miss.

"So, we have confidence in him because of that. What happens in practice usually translates to games," Thielen added. "We're thankful he's on our side and we just knew. We knew that he was going to get another opportunity, and we're thankful that he's on our team."

Joseph stayed calm on the sidelines in the moments leading up to his game-winner, trusting in himself that he would come through if needed.

He did, helping the Vikings avoid a disaster of a loss. Minnesota is now 2-3, with a 1-0 mark in NFC North play.

"Just knowing the team was going to give me another chance and believing in myself," Joseph said. "Never get too high and never get too low … staying right in the middle."

Just like the biggest kick of his career.