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Vikings special-teams coordinator stands up for Blair Walsh

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 11:  Kicker Blair Walsh #3 of the Minnesota Vikings misses an extra point against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at Nissan Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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34 Responses to “Vikings special-teams coordinator stands up for Blair Walsh”
  1. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Sep 16, 2016 2:10 PM

    “…right now.”

    Ask again on Monday.

  2. cheeseisfattening says: Sep 16, 2016 2:14 PM

    It is great to see a coach stand you for a player. You know, like Mike McCarty did with Eddie Lacy at the end of last season.

  3. bhinrichs9 says: Sep 16, 2016 2:15 PM

    As a Vikings fan, I take a knee in protest against Blair Walsh’s atrocious kicking ability.

  4. shaggytoodle says: Sep 16, 2016 2:18 PM

    The ever dreadful “Vote of confidence”

    Packer fans understand what the Vikings are going through, if I remember correctly it was against the Colts a couple years ago where Crosby an important FG and he struggled, quite a bit that season, every time he went out you weren’t confident in the results. Fortunately for GB fans Crosby has pulled out of it and has been one of the better Kickers in the league.

    Walsh may be able to pull out of it but what is working against him, is he didn’t get to kick again after his miss last year, it was something that he carried on for the off-season, so I don’t know if he will ever be the same again, because sometimes when kickers lose it, they never get it back.

  5. weepingjebus says: Sep 16, 2016 2:28 PM

    The Blair Walsh Project.
    “I am so scared”

  6. angelogiaquinto18 says: Sep 16, 2016 2:31 PM

    Come on…who else you gonna get? Robbie Gould isn’t any better. Just hope he gets is straight. Seems to be mental more than anything. …and last season we weren’t beating Zona, Carolina, or Denver!

  7. shaggytoodle says: Sep 16, 2016 2:38 PM

    cheeseisfattening says:
    Sep 16, 2016 2:14 PM
    It is great to see a coach stand you for a player. You know, like Mike McCarty did with Eddie Lacy at the end of last season
    _______

    Lacy’s production was down, and McCarthy told him what he needed to to be a better player, good coaches will stand up for a struggling player, Great coaches will help them work through their issues and improve the players effectiveness.

    While it has only been one game, Packer fans better running Lacy, Walsh is still having issues.

  8. footballmaven says: Sep 16, 2016 2:42 PM

    I could not understand why this guy was drafted, let alone chosen to be their kicker in the first place, as he had a terrible senior year at Georgia… his first couple pro years proved me wrong, but maybe he’s now settling back into what he became late in his college career..unreliable

  9. hoops737 says: Sep 16, 2016 2:44 PM

    The Vikings had to do it in Prime Time in 2010 after a loss to the Saints in the NFCCG.

    Nobody complained. Quit being a baby Rivera, surprised he didn’t play the race card.

  10. voiceofrealism says: Sep 16, 2016 2:49 PM

    As a football fan, I stand up for players, coaches, and announcers talking about football, and not showing their stupidity by talking about social injustice.

  11. darrinnelsonkilledthedream says: Sep 16, 2016 2:52 PM

    He had issues at Georgia too and did eventually correct his mechanics. It’s an early body turn to the left forcing a pulled miss going farther left. A lot of golfers are also too familiar with those mechanics.

    Let’s hope he’s kicking well when he needs to be later this season…

  12. mclovin07 says: Sep 16, 2016 2:57 PM

    As a Vikings fan, this guy “mentally” is lost….he’s at the end of the rope imo.

  13. ryanlatterell says: Sep 16, 2016 2:58 PM

    Walsh is more important for the long field goals if you look at the stats. He seems to miss with the same frequency, regardless of the distance.

    I hope he can get out of his head

  14. longtimefanh8tr says: Sep 16, 2016 3:00 PM

    He’s still missing field goals to prove his January shank wasn’t a fluke.

  15. tokyosandblaster says: Sep 16, 2016 3:20 PM

    Hey, it’s not like he’s losing home playoff games.

    The defense not holding a 9 point lead at home in the 4th quarter, and the offense’s inability to score a TD was responsible for that.

    >

  16. cheeseisfattening says: Sep 16, 2016 3:20 PM

    Lacy’s production was down, and McCarthy told him what he needed to to be a better player, good coaches will stand up for a struggling player, Great coaches will help them work through their issues and improve the players effectiveness.
    —–
    Great coaches tell a player what he needs to hear and then stand up for him in public. McCarthy tells that public what the player needs to hear and Packer fans think its the same thing. And after one mediocre game Packer fans are calling it a success.

  17. In Teddy We Trust says: Sep 16, 2016 3:22 PM

    It doesn’t matter what Priefer or Zimmer says. If Walsh misses a field goal against Green Bay that causes them to lose the game, Viking fans will run him out of town on a rail.

  18. In Teddy We Trust says: Sep 16, 2016 3:25 PM

    Last week, Walsh lined up for a 56-yard field goal and kicked it wide left of the end zone pylon, but Mularkey had called a time out just before he kicked it so he got another chance. The second time he kicked it even worse. If you can miss a field goal that badly and then not make the necessary adjustments on the next try, I think you’re too far gone to ever trust again.

  19. whatjusthapped says: Sep 16, 2016 3:25 PM

    Its like a golfer standing on the tee after a triple bogey because he hooked his previous drive into the middle of Sherwood Forest. That image of chocking is hard to get out of his head and a 27 yarder in a playoff game leaves a bigger and more lasting impression than last week’s misses.

    It’s just something that happens when you slip on a purple uniform. But he doesn’t beat 4 year children bloody so at least he has that going for him.

  20. In Teddy We Trust says: Sep 16, 2016 3:26 PM

    Thumbs up if you have no confidence in Walsh hitting a field goal from any distance in a big spot.

  21. football2011 says: Sep 16, 2016 3:29 PM

    The man who needs to be fired is Mike Pfeifer not Walsh. He has been there several years and still failed to correct Walsh’s inconsistency. He also wasted a fifth round on P Jeff Locke three years ago. Locke has been one of the worst punters in the league
    for three years with no sign of improvement.

  22. fwippel says: Sep 16, 2016 3:30 PM

    Walsh had better straighten it out fast. He started last year shaky after a horrid preseason when he made less than half his field goal attempts.

    He got it together as the year went along, but if he can’t get that missed playoff kick out of his head, he’s not going to be any good to the team going forward. Mike Vanderjagt was the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history before his playoff miss that cost the Colts a chance to defeat Pittsburgh; he never recovered from that. Here’s hoping Walsh isn’t headed down the same path.

  23. I'm not a football punk says: Sep 16, 2016 3:57 PM

    I’m a packer fan, and I know what happens when a kicker goes through these struggles. (Crosby 2012).
    It cost Green Bay only 1 game during that year.
    Some kickers go through a funk, and some get out of it, and some don’t.
    You got to stick with him.

  24. highdimension2015 says: Sep 16, 2016 4:02 PM

    My voodoo doll’s hex on his position coach is clearly working! Love, CK.

  25. schmitty2 says: Sep 16, 2016 4:10 PM

    It’s a mental thing. I’ve seen it first hand on the Rams with Greg “The leg” Zuerlien. When he came into the league he was drilling 55-60 yarders like they were chip shots and had incredibly good accuracy and then for some reason he has blossomed into one of the most inaccurate kickers in football despite the fact he kicked in a dome over half the time.

  26. shaggytoodle says: Sep 16, 2016 4:22 PM

    cheeseisfattening says:
    Sep 16, 2016 3:20 PM
    Great coaches tell a player what he needs to hear and then stand up for him in public. McCarthy tells that public what the player needs to hear and Packer fans think its the same thing. And after one mediocre game Packer fans are calling it a success.
    _______

    You only assume that, its more likely McCarthy told him last October that he needed to get in better shape, and after giving him an opportunity to get it right, and failing, he changed his approach and motivated him in a different way.
    While Lacy’s stat line was marginal, he had over 5 yards a touch proving he was effective. Adrian Peterson would have settled for a mediocre showing last weekend, instead he did everything he could to gut out that 1.6 yards a carry.

  27. In Teddy We Trust says: Sep 16, 2016 4:59 PM

    Gary Anderson was 35 of 35 on field goals the year of his infamous wide left. The next year he was 19 of 30, which was the worst field goal percentage of his 23-year career. Probably just a coincidence.

    He did turn it around after that year and finished his career strong, but there had to have been some effect of that miss on the next year.

  28. cheeseisfattening says: Sep 16, 2016 5:40 PM

    You only assume that, its more likely McCarthy told him last October that he needed to get in better shape, and after giving him an opportunity to get it right, and failing, he changed his approach and motivated him in a different way.
    ——————–
    Actually I know for a fact McCarthy told the public Lacy is fat and needs to lose weight to stay on the team. The only assumption here is you on what McCarthy might have told him in October.

  29. beer4guy says: Sep 16, 2016 6:03 PM

    darrinnelsonkilledthedream says:
    Sep 16, 2016 2:52 PM
    He had issues at Georgia too and did eventually correct his mechanics. It’s an early body turn to the left forcing a pulled miss going farther left. A lot of golfers are also too familiar with those mechanics.

    Let’s hope he’s kicking well when he needs to be later this season…
    _____________________

    Bingo! At Georgia, Walsh was “too quick”, which golfers know, generally causes the ball to go left. Priefer worked with him a lot his rookie year to get him to slow down. But when the nerves start kicking in, it causes the body to speed up again, and that’s exactly what is happening to Walsh. He needs to find a way to slow himself back down again, especially in pressure situations.

    I’m not sure he’s going to be able to pull himself out of it. I think it was Shaggy who mentioned above that Walsh had all off season to have to think about it, so unfortunately, the bad memory of it has more time to be ingrained into his psyche. Personally, if he has to hit a game winner on Sunday, I have no confidence he will make it.

  30. realitycheckbaby says: Sep 17, 2016 8:42 AM

    The Hawks broke him.

  31. atthemurph says: Sep 17, 2016 9:38 AM

    I hope the Wipings keep the guy. He’s a train wreck.

  32. lambeaudungbarn says: Sep 17, 2016 12:13 PM

    I forecast hints of Scott Norwood losing the Super Bowl for the Bills to the Giants here, IF Minnesota should make it to the big game.
    Most kickers have one area they struggle with, Walsh is
    just all over the place with no rhyme or reason to his misses.
    Even extra points are a Crap shoot!

  33. skol2015 says: Sep 17, 2016 7:20 PM

    Seems to me, he kind of started the downward trend after Kluwe left. Maybe it’s the holder.

  34. minnescrotums says: Sep 17, 2016 9:54 PM

    I think he’s doing a great job.

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