Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings have announced a contract extension for kicker Blair Walsh.

The news comes on the first day of training camp practices in Mankato and the proactive approach means the 25 year-old 2012 draft pick will remain the team’s kicker for the foreseeable future.

“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings moving forward,” said Walsh in the team’s announcement. “I’d like to thank Rick Spielman, the Wilf family, Coach Zimmer, Coach Priefer and Rob Brzezinski for giving me this opportunity. I’m proud to be able to stay with the team that drafted me coming out of college and I look forward to what is in store for the future of this organization.”

Walsh set high expectations for himself with a phenomenal rookie season, but has seemingly struggled a bit since moving outdoors to TCF Bank Stadium and/or losing Chris Kluwe as his primary holder. The Vikings only have one more season of outdoor home games before they move into their brand new home at US Bank Stadium.

“Blair has been a vital part of our special teams success since we drafted him and we felt it was very important to secure his future with our organization,” General Manager Rick Spielman said of the extension. “His consistency on kickoffs and on long range field goals can help change the game for our team and we’re excited for his future here in Minnesota. This extension stays true to our philosophy of drafting young talent, developing them in our system and rewarding their success.”

The contract is reportedly a four-year deal worth up to $14 million, with $5.25 million in guarantees, according to 1500 ESPN. This makes him a top five kicker in terms of pay grade.

Safety Harrison Smith tops the watch-list for players in line for a nice reward for their success.