Vikings kicker Blair Walsh chased his season-limiting 27-yard miss in January with a rough Week One outing in Nashville. But the Vikings coaching staff continues to be firmly in Walsh’s corner. At least for now.
“I would never look for another kicker right now,” special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer told reporters on Thursday, via VikingUpdate.com.
Those extra two words at the end resonate, regardless of whether they were intended or whether Priefer simply blurted them out.
“I know Blair is our guy,” Priefer added. “I think coach [Mike] Zimmer said it after the game: He’s our guy but he’s got to make those kicks. He was disappointed just as much as we were disappointed that he missed them. Going forward, he’s going to be the guy.”
Walsh missed two field goals and an extra point on Sunday, before settling down in the second half of the win over the Titans. If he keeps missing kicks, the “right now” support of Walsh will evaporate, especially since none of his contract beyond this season is guaranteed.
With the talent gap among the best and worst teams in the NFL arguably narrower than ever, little things matter more than ever. If the Panthers and Cardinals could have executed the snap, hold, and kick last Thursday and Sunday, respectively, they would each be 1-0 and the Broncos and Patriots would be 0-1. If Walsh could have made a short kick in January, the Vikings would have gotten a crack at the Cardinals and then, perhaps, the Panthers — and maybe even the Broncos.
Missed kicks rob entire football teams of opportunities. Walsh already has done it once, at a time when no one saw it coming. If Priefer and Zimmer put Walsh in that position again this year and he fails to deliver, they won’t be able to say they didn’t see it coming.