It happened yet again on National TV during Monday Night Football. Blair Walsh missed another field goal which was his 3rd miss in 11 attempts this young season. Last year's painful miss versus Seattle is still fresh in everyone's mind and it appears that it still lingers in Blair's mind as well.
The Vikings are a great NFL team and Blair Walsh seems like a super nice guy, but at what point is enough, enough? Mike Florio was a guest of Paul Allen's radio show on Monday and referred to the Walsh situation as the "Achilles heel" for the Vikings and that is totally accurate. The Walsh yips haven't cost the Vikings a loss yet this season but at what point will it possibly rear its ugly head? I'd love for the Vikings to be up by ten points or more in every game but we'd be dumb to think that was realistic.
There was an uneasy feeling among the fans in US Bank Stadium every time Walsh lined up to kick, people are hoping for him to make the kicks but are also fully prepared for the kicks to be missed. That's not good, not for the fans, not for Blair Walsh and not for Mike Zimmer.There will be a time this season that the Vikings will need to push a 4th quarter lead from three to six points, or to tie a game late from 46 yards out and that is when the Vikings could get burned. When you play with fire enough times, eventually you will get burned. The longer this goes, the more it will sting when it bites us. This team is built to win close games and having an shaky kicker is a dang good way to insure that every Vikings fan has the same nervousness levels as Tweak from South Park each time that Mr. Walsh lines up to kick.
That's not good, not for the fans, not for Blair Walsh and not for Mike Zimmer.
The easiest replacement for Walsh is former Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould. It seemed like Gould was always lock to make the kick under pressure, especially when kicking from the crappy Soldier's Field turf which always appeared to look worse than the grass in front of the main stage at Lollapalooza. Gould is out of a job now, but in the previous 3 years he made FG's between 30-49 yards at 81% (34/42). Last season with the extra points moved out, Gould hit 96.5% of his XP's. Gould doesn't have the cannon of a leg that Walsh does, but he is available.
My own choice is a wild shot in the dark. Give me some Adam Vinatieri and get him in the purple and gold now! Vinatieri is 43 years old, from Rapid City, SD (South Dakota St. Jackrabbits! Go Jacks!) and is on a horrendous Indianapolis Colts squad that is about 2-3 more losses away from plunging into all out tank mode while knowing they wasted another year of Andrew Luck's career. Indy needs talent and a whole lot of it. Maybe they'd accept a Rick Spielman offer of a 5th RD pick or a combo of Walsh and a 6th or 7th round pick. Vinatieri will turn 44 in December but he is 8/8 on FG's this season including a very surprising 3/3 from 50 yards plus. Since 2014, he is 97% (36/37) from 30-49 yards! If you don't believe me, check out http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/V/vinatada01.htm. He's been victorious in FOUR Superbowls, so it's not like the bright lights will scare him. Spielman has made aggressive trades before and he's already pulled off one this season, why not go for it again?
The NFC is completely winnable this year as it looks like Arizona is down, Green Bay isn't the Green Bay we have seen in the past, Carolina is a shell of what they were last year, Seattle is winning but it's not pretty, Philly & Dallas are starting rookie QB's, Atlanta has a poor defense and still has to survive the inevitable Matty Ice self-destruction. With all of these teams having issues, the Vikings really can get to the Super Bowl and it's time for them to make the best move that they can to make sure they have given themselves every chance that they can to reach the Super Bowl.