The Vikings got good immediate returns on their decision to draft kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round of the 2012 draft when Walsh went on to make the Pro Bowl after hitting on 35-of-38 field goals.
Walsh made all 10 of his tries from 50 yards or beyond that season and another good year in 2013 seemed to signal a long stay for Walsh in Minnesota. Things didn’t work out quite as well for Walsh last season, however. He only made 74.3% of his field goal tries and missed three kicks inside of 40 yards, which leads him to acknowledge the need to be “better” in 2015 even if he doesn’t think “wholesale changes” are necessary.
Walsh’s struggles haven’t stopped the team from opening up talks about an extension before Walsh’s contract is up at the conclusion of this season. Walsh said there’s been “a little bit of communication” about a deal he’d like to stay so he can remain in Minnesota.
“I would love to stay a Viking. This is the team that drafted me and put that faith in me to be an NFL kicker,” Walsh said, via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “But at the same time, I’ve had a Pro Bowl year here, I’ve had success and there’s been a lot of long attempts that we’ve made, so the numbers are going to have to be right for both of us. But when it comes down to it, I hope I can stay with the Vikings.”
It would be tempting to say that the Vikings’ move outside hurt Walsh’s accuracy last season, but only four of his nine misses came during Vikings home games and three of the road misses came at Ford Field. An extension now might come at a lower price than Walsh could command after a better 2015 season, but the security at a position that doesn’t usually come with a lot of it may be worth the trade.