The Blair Walsh Project has finally come to an end. I’m sorry to see him go, but I believe the Vikings made the right decision, if a bit later than many fans might have liked. Walsh had a brilliant rookie season after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 draft and was rewarded with a big contract (for a kicking specialist, anyway), but his missed kicks, blocked kicks, and miscues since the playoff game against Seattle finally forced the team to release him. Jim Souhan says it was a mistake for the team to give him as many chances as they did:
November 16, 2016
August 23, 2015
I didn’t get to watch this game, as we had guests over for dinner, but the chances of being able to watch the game in the Toronto area probably weren’t that high anyway. Here’s The Daily Norseman‘s Christopher Gates on the game summary:
It took a really long time, thanks to a weather delay, but by the time the rain cleared and everything was in the books, the Minnesota Vikings continued their preseason perfection under Mike Zimmer with a 20-12 victory over the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday night.
Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start, including a miss on a 35-yard field goal attempt by Blair Walsh on the team’s second drive. The Raiders then got on the board first, courtesy of a 2-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray. The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard pass from Derek Carr to rookie Amari Cooper. The Vikings challenged the play, as it appeared that Cooper only got one foot in-bounds, but they lost that challenge. The 2-point attempt for the Raiders was unsuccessful, and they took a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter.
The Vikings answered back on their next drive, putting the ball into the end zone on the second play of the second quarter. Teddy Bridgewater took a snap, floated a pass to the back right corner of the end zone, and found Charles Johnson for a 10-yard score. Blair Walsh’s rough night continued, as he missed the new 33-yard extra point attempt, and the game remained tied at 6-6.
Approximately halfway through the second quarter, the severe weather rolling through the area caused the game to be delayed. The delay went on for approximately an hour, and the teams agreed to jump straight from the second quarter to the third quarter with no halftime break.
After the delay, Shaun Hill and Cordarrelle Patterson had a bit of miscommunication that resulted in an interception by Oakland’s Jonathan Dowling. That meant that former Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder entered the game for the Raiders, and after a 39-yard pitch-and-catch with Andre Holmes, the Raiders had to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Giorgio Tavecchio to put the Raiders back on top, 9-6.
The Vikings managed to strike again at the end of the first half, as Hill moved the team downfield and found Chase Ford for a 4-yard touchdown pass with time running out. That sent the Vikings to the locker room for “halftime” with a 13-9 lead after the Blair Walsh extra point.
Eric Thompson compiled the post-game Stock Market Report with blue chip investments:
Teddy Bridgewater. His first drive wasn’t too great. He threw a little behind Mike Wallace and Kyle Rudolph and straight up missed Jarius Wright on a third down. But after that? Pure poetry. His improvisation to Jerick McKinnon, his gorgeous rainbow of a touchdown to Charles Johnson…my goodness. We’re still in very good gloved hands under center.
Chase Ford. Five catches for 19 yards isn’t exactly the stuff that legends are made of. However, his juggling catch while still getting out of bounds followed by holding on in the end zone while getting popped earned him a spot at the top this week. Ford jumped on his opportunity with MyCole Pruitt out due to an injury.
Everyone that watched the entire game. That was a mid-July Red Sox-Yankees-length game that we had to endure tonight. I would personally like to thank everyone on Twitter as well as Fulton Brewery for their delicious Sweet Child Of Vine IPA. Without them I would have fallen asleep or died of boredom around 8:45 PM.
… and the Junk Bonds:
Blair Walsh. What. The. Hell. I don’t care how windy it was at TCF on Saturday night. (As @thevikingpig put it: “The Blair Wind Project.”) You simply cannot miss three field goals and a newfangled extra point. Going 2-for-6 is a nice batting average but it’ll get you fired in a hurry if you’re an NFL kicker. After his second to last miss, Zimmer stared absolute daggers through his kicker while muttering what I’m sure was a string of expletives.
GIF: Vikings coach Mike Zimmer gives Blair Walsh the death stare after Walsh missed his 2nd FG pic.twitter.com/NL8fhkJN0U
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) August 23, 2015
Nobody will be harder on Walsh than himself — in fact, he tried to kick himself after missing the last field goal but was wide left on his attempt. There is no excuse for how poorly Walsh is kicking so far this preseason. It better get fixed soon.
Run blocking. Jerick McKinnon had nowhere to go for all but one of his carries. The team averaged only 2.7 yards per rush. Not even Adrian Peterson is going to get many yards behind the run blocking that was on display most of the night.
Trae Waynes. No, I’m not calling him a bust by putting him in this section. And he did almost have an interception. Sadly, that one didn’t really count because it was thrown by Christian Ponder and nearly picking off Christian Ponder can usually happen by accident. But overall he played pretty poorly again, even after getting less to do by the coaching staff this week. It sucks that the 11th overall pick is probably going to be a project this year.
Cordarrelle Patterson. The bad interception that Hill threw seemed to be his fault. Patterson was pointing to his chest while walking off the field which means he probably ran the wrong route. He also didn’t get to return any kickoffs, which seems like the only way he’s going to make an impact at this rate.
Mother Nature. C’mon, it’s the preseason. We don’t need these games to last any longer than they already do. And can you imagine being a beer vendor at TCF Stadium during that delay? Those poor people.
January 27, 2013
The Minnesota Vikings 2012 season ended at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, but the individual efforts of a number of players has been recognized by nominations to the NFC Pro Bowl team. Originally the Viking contingent consisted of running back Adrian Peterson, fullback Jerome Felton, and rookie kicker Blair Walsh. Alternates who were added to the team included defensive end Jared Allen, linebacker Chad Greenway, and tight end Kyle Rudolph. Yesterday, it was announced that rookie offensive tackle Matt Kalil would be going to Hawaii as an injury replacement for the Washington Redskins’ Trent Williams:
Whoever invented the term “the more the merrier” must’ve been looking into the future at the Vikings’ 2013 Pro Bowl contingent. That contingent stood at six as of Friday morning. And now it stands at seven after the last-second addition of left tackle Matt Kalil to the team. Kalil replaces Trent Williams of the Redskins who dropped out. I think every original member of the team has now dropped out except the four Vikings. And Jeff Saturday who is the one guy who totally does not belong there.
Update: There’s apparently a bit of a backstory to why Williams won’t be playing:
So @adamschefter reports Trent Williams dropped out of Pro Bowl because someone cracked a champagne bottle over his head. Lord.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 26, 2013
December 17, 2012
This was a do-or-die game for both teams: only the winner would still have playoff aspirations. At 7-6, the Vikings were contending for a wildcard in the NFC North, while St. Louis was in contention in the NFC West with a 6-6-1 record.
The Rams hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in several games and featured strong defensive line performances to clog running lanes and limit opportunities. It worked well: after eight runs, Adrian Peterson had only tallied eight yards. It was the ninth run that broke it open: 82 yards to the end zone for the touchdown (the Vikings never gave up the lead). By the time the Vikings stopped sending Peterson in, he’d gained over 200 yards and was that much closer to breaking Eric Dickerson’s rushing record (2,105 yards, set in 1984). It’s already his best season at 1,812 yards with two games left to play.
The “Blair Walsh Project” continues to prove the wisdom of drafting a kicker: he now owns the Vikings rookie scoring record and made five-of-five of his field goal attempts (53, 50, 42, 38, and 51 yards). It’s the first time a Vikings kicker has hit three field goals from 50 yards or more (and he also tied the NFL record with eight in a season).
October 1, 2012
Minnesota finally broke the longest in-division losing streak in the NFL, having lost 11 straight divisional games up to yesterday’s visit to Ford Field in Detroit. The Vikings never trailed after Percy Harvin took the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. Later in the game, punt returner Marcus Sherels went 77 yards to score a second special teams TD. Adrian Peterson got his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, and Christian Ponder continued his zero interception streak going for another game (but it was the defence and special teams players who won the game … with a lot of help from Detroit’s butter-fingered wide receiving corps).
September 24, 2012
Lots of bookies are unhappy with the result of Sunday’s game in Minnesota, as the underdog Vikings played a complete game and came out with a big win over the heavily favoured San Francisco 49ers. Tight End Kyle Rudolph came down with two touchdown passes from Christian Ponder, and Ponder scrambled for another TD. Rookie Kicker Blair Walsh set a team record with another 50+ yard field goal to extend his career-opening streak to three games. 1500ESPN’s Tom Pelissero and Judd Zulgad wrap up the game from the Metrodome:
Update: Ted Glover at the Daily Norseman:
God damn it, it may be cheap, and it may be cliche, but this was as solid a team victory as this organization has had in a long, long time. When the offense needed to make a long drive and score, they did. When the defense absolutely, positively, had to get off the field, they did. When the special teams needed a big play, they got one. When Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff needed to dial something up, they did. Honestly, if you can’t get on board after this win, or get pumped up after a victory this convincing, you need to go cheer for another team. I can’t help you. If this was college, and I was handing out helmet stickers, everyone would get one, because this was a great win for this franchise. The Vikings just didn’t beat the 49ers, they flat out kicked their ass.
Kicked. Their. Ass.
September 10, 2012
The first half of yesterday’s home opener had all the hallmarks of 2011: miscommunication, bad tackling, poor judgement, and an air of general ineptitude. The game matched up two remarkably similar teams: both led by second-year quarterbacks, both with franchise running backs returning to the game (one from injury, one from a contract dispute), and both desperate to improve on a very disappointing 2011 NFL season.
In spite of the miscues and mistakes, the Vikings kept the game close while the offense tried to get it together. Just before the end of the first half, things started to look positive for the purple, getting on the board with an Adrian Peterson TD (highlights here).
August 11, 2012
The first preseason game is out of the way and it wasn’t pretty. Both the Vikings and 49ers rested some of their starters, and the starters who played generally only stayed in the game for a series or two.
Most accounts agree that the Vikings’ offensive starters did well except for a rash of drops that cut short the first couple of drives. Christian Ponder’s decision-making was better than last year, not trying to force the ball into coverage and being willing to throw the ball away when nothing developed. The offensive line apparently held up well, giving Ponder time to get past his first read and making the most of what opportunities were offered. Blair Walsh scored all the Vikings points (two field goals), and got the ball deep enough on kickoff to keep San Francisco from any big returns.