After being on five different teams in three years, Greg Joseph joined the Vikings last season and found success. Now, the fifth-year kicker is ready for more going into 2022.
"I've taken everything from last season and learned to make myself better as a human and better as an athlete," Joseph said. "I'm never forgetting how far I've come, and I'm just excited for this next season because of how much I feel like I've personally grown into who I am as an athlete and as a human. I'm taking strides step by step and one day at a time."
We sat down recently for a Water Break presented by Crown Royal.
Q: What was it like growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa?
A: "It was a good childhood from what I remember. That's where my whole family is from; I haven't been back too often, but I still have some family and friends there and I can't wait to go back and visit."
Q: What stands out to you when you reflect on your journey so far in the NFL?
A: "I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's specific to me and personal to me — that's why I'll always cherish it and remember with a smile on my face."
Q: Besides Cleveland, Minnesota's the only other Northern U.S. team that you've been on. Is there much of a difference kicking in a Northern location versus kicking in the South?
A: "Same ball, same yard marker, same uprights."
Q: How has your Jewish faith played a role in your life, especially in the NFL?
View the best photos of Vikings K Greg Joseph from the 2021 season.
A: "Good question. I feel like it's given me an amazing support system with my family, friends and community. My relationship with God and my faith in Him has allowed me to go farther than I ever thought I'd go. It just shows me different ways to be a better human being each day."
Q: How important is it to establish that connection with the Jewish community in the cities where you've lived?
A: "For me, it's very important because I want to live a life of service. Instead of just talking about it, I try to act on it. [You'll] always find me trying to give back to others because that's what life's about, in my opinion."
Q: Growing up, you played multiple sports, including cross **country, soccer and football. When did you make that decision to focus only on football, and how hard of a decision was it to make?
A: "Soccer was my life, my childhood. It was right before college ball when I decided that I was going to fully pursue [football] and play at FAU (Florida Atlantic University) and stop with soccer. It was a tough decision because of how much I love and cherish soccer and everything it taught me and gave to me, but I was ready for a change. I kind of blinked and here I am, so obviously no regrets at all, and I'm excited for the future."
Q: How tough was it going undrafted?
A: "I think it was kind of expected. Coming from a bit of a smaller school and still having to establish myself, I wasn't going to say I was let down. I thought there was a small possibility, but I'm a realistic guy; my journey's my journey, and I knew all I needed was a shot to take it from there and then go to the next step."
Q: You had your first game-winning kick in only your third pro game (a 37-yard FG to give Cleveland a 12-9 victory against Baltimore in OT in 2018). You've had a few more since then, including last season against Green Bay and Detroit. How satisfying is it to see those go through the uprights, especially against a rival?
A: "It's hard work paying off. I try to put my best foot forward each kick, [I have a] short memory on every kick and … I practice those scenarios over and over and over again. To see it come to life means the world to me, and I absolutely love it here, love the locker room here, love the guys, so hopefully to many, many more and just helping the team get in a better position to win."
Look back at photos through the years featuring games between the Vikings and Packers.
Q: Do you have any pregame or pre-kick rituals that you go through?
A: "I have a routine. I'm a man of routine and sticking to the process, but nothing crazy."
Q: How do you deal with opposing teams trying to "ice" you as a kicker?
A: "Just going through my process. I just try to get lost in the process over and over and over again because I always want to be a man that's process-oriented and not focused on the results."
Q: You're still relatively new to this team. What's the support been like from your teammates, especially during training camp when they're going through a two-hour practice hitting each other and then you step up and hit a 60-yard field goal to end it and they all mob you?
A: "It's awesome. I work hard obviously to hopefully succeed in those positions, and to see them noticing and being happy for me means the world to me because I'm happy for them on every rep they have success on. The support system from the coaches, K.O. [Kevin O'Connell] and [Special Teams Coordinator Matt] Daniels, and the organization has been amazing. It just makes me work harder."
Q: Speaking of Coach O'Connell and Coach Daniels, what has that relationship been like with these new coaches coming in?
A: "Awesome. Both [are] smart guys, [and] both know how to connect with the players very well. Both have all of our respect and just make me want to work and bust my butt for them, as well as [Assistant Special Teams Coach Ben Kotwica]. He's been around the game a while, understands it, understands us and knows how to bring the best out of us."
Q: Last year was a successful season overall for you. How do you want to build off that going into this year?
A: "The past is the past. I'm putting my next step forward and I'm just worried about this year. It was an awesome year, it was fun. I've worked hard, and I believe I'm a better kicker and a better man, so let's go forward from here."
Q: What's the farthest kick you've ever made? Was it the 60-yarder in training camp?
A: "I've pushed it a bit farther back with some conditions. Had some fun, gone back a bit farther than that, but you guys obviously saw last year in a game, 55 is my long thus far, so hopefully I get an opportunity to attack that this year."