Rookie records Minnesota Vikings' records NFL records; kicker Blair Walsh's first season in the NFL was unlike any other. The sixth-round pick quickly proved the best of a standout rookie crop of kickers last season and set several team and league records on his way to being named to the Pro Bowl. Now Walsh and the Vikings are working to ensure his second season also avoids other typical circumstances. In the offseason Minnesota special teams coordinator Mike Priefer talked to Walsh about avoiding a sophomore slump. Priefer had examples from the past of kickers who had big seasons only to fizzle out often be out of the league. Walsh understood well because he'd done some studying of his own. "Blair's a pretty sharp kid and I think he thinks of these things ahead of time" Priefer said. "He knew beforehand some of the guys I brought up and said 'I know exactly what you're talking about coach. I know where you're coming from.'… I think he's put that in strides and says 'Roger that Here we go.'" Walsh rose from training camp question to putting together the best rookie season of any kicker in NFL history. He was drafted to replace steady veteran Ryan Longwell. The Vikings tried to simulate as many pressure-packed situations as they could for Walsh in training camp last season. In his first regular-season game he knocked a 55-yard field goal to put the game into overtime where he beat Jacksonville with a 38-yarder. He had a field goal of at least 50 yards in his first three games on his way to setting an NFL single-season record for most field goals of 50 yards or more going 10 of 10. Walsh who was named a first-team All-Pro tied team records for longest field goal (a 56-yarder) and most field goals made in a single season (35). In one season his 10 field goals of 50 yards or more is one shy of Longwell's team record for a career. He also tied an NFL record with three field goals of 50-plus in a game.
All-Pro kicker Blair Walsh looks to avoid complacency in second year
Fox Sports North | Aug 15