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NFL Minnesota Vikings

Vikings K Blair Walsh Confident in Abilities, Despite Average Senior Season

Earlier this month, the Minnesota Vikings released long-time kicker Ryan Longwell. The move all but guaranteed new rookie kicker Blair Walsh the starting job for the purple and gold in 2012.

Walsh recently sat down for an interview, and made a few comments on his new job and on what he will bring to the table for the Vikings:

“Ryan (Longwell) is a great kicker. I grew up watching kickers when I was in high school. He was one of the guys I tried to emulate. His accuracy here was just unparalleled. It was surprising, for sure. But it was a nice vote of confidence from the coaches. I’m ready to show them their decision was good.”

When asked if touch-backs are going to be the norm, he replied:

“I put that expectation on myself, especially since they moved (kickoffs) out to the 35-yard line. I think they’ll need to be put it into the end zone – at least. It’s also what kind of coverage schemes you want, whether you want to pin them somewhere or put it high. It doesn’t matter. I’ll do whatever is asked of me.”

What about his range as a kicker?

“Realistically, as long as it’s in the low 60s, I’ll give it a shot. I’m not saying I’ll make them every time, but I think I’m pretty dependable from 50-plus. I was in college. Hopefully, I can translate it to the pros. I can be a long-range threat or weapon, but it really matters about hitting those 40 to 49s.”

He was also asked about the struggles during his senior season:

“I just started pushing a little bit. I missed early on in the season. I was 2 for 4 after the first two games, and I hadn’t been like that ever. It killed me that I wasn’t helping my team like I knew I had been in the previous years. I over-analyzed and got myself into a funk and was in and out of it all year.”

Walsh only made 21 of 35 field goals during his final season in college, while missing a game-winner in the Outback Bowl.

I must admit that I was a little shocked to see Walsh’s stats from his senior season, 21 of 35 is just not that good. However, I was relieved to see that he did make 40 of 45 combined, over the prior 2 seasons.

Given this information, it’s clear that Walsh has the skills to be successful in the NFL. Kickers aren’t drafted unless they have the potential to be franchise players, so the Vikings must feel that he can be their guy for years to come.

With his struggles last year, it’s imperative that Walsh gets off to a good start in 2012. His confidence needs to stay strong, otherwise, it could be a real difficult rookie season.

Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish