Saturday, August 19, 2017

blair walsh

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A Uniquely Vikings Problem
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In a perfect world, field goal kickers don’t miss kicks. They relegate themselves to a side field during practice, grab a bucket of balls, and spend hours taking reps from different spots on the grass. Their sole purpose is to turn the swing of a leg into three points, but the outcome isn’t always guaranteed.

Rarely do NFL kickers finish a year with a perfect field goal percentage. Sending a tiny, leather sphere through relatively narrow goalposts isn’t a surefire proposition; factors such as rushing defenders, wind, and the ‘yips’ often turn chip shots into near-impossible tasks for the kicker.

Still, fans expect perfection — even if perfection is rarely the outcome.

I do not. I’m a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings, so I’ve grown accustomed to the inexplicable woes of place kickers. From Gary Anderson to Blair Walsh, I’ve seen, er, sobbed through it all. I no longer take a simple extra point for granted, and after the events of the 2016 season, the other few phases are suddenly a reason for concern.

Forget the offensive line — improved through free agency and the draft — or the quarterback situation; it’s special teams as a whole that could make or break the Vikings’ upcoming season.

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WARNING: Do Not Draft Kickers & Punters

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a bit of a special teams quagmire with the NFL draft quickly approaching.

Blair Walsh, a sixth-round pick in 2012, was notably released this past November and subsequently replaced by former undrafted free-agent kicker Kai Forbath. The Jeff Locke roller coaster, which began with the Vikings selecting the former UCLA punter during the fifth round in 2013, came to a decisive end when he bolted for Indianapolis during free agency this offseason. He has since been replaced on Minnesota’s roster by a pair of previously undrafted punters in Texas Tech’s Taylor Symmank and Boston College’s Ryan Quigley.

Forbath, who connected on 15 of 15 field-goal tries and 11 of 14 extra-point attempts after joining Minnesota ahead of Week 11 in 2016, offers — at the very least — a short-term solution to the Vikings’ kicking situation. Symmank and the recently-signed Quigley, on the other hand, are set to battle it out for the punting job vacated by Locke, but — similar to Forbath — do not necessarily represent definitive long-term options.

Point being, Minnesota is potentially (still) in the market for an upgrade at kicker, punter or both — and the Vikings should refrain from investing any of their very limited draft capital on either special teams position during any round of the 2017 NFL draft.

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VT Roundtable - Episode 004 Teddy vs Sam
Image courtesy of Brett Anderson

This week’s episode of the VT Roundtable hits on all the important offseason topics: Boneless vs. bone-in wings, the value of Pro Football Focus, and, of course, Teddy vs. Sam. Vikings Twitter rages on around these age-old questions, and today, we hope to provide a few answers.

Amidst the serious discussion, there were bandanas, eye black, and increasingly difficult cast-off votes. This week’s edition features the familiar VT faces you know and love, plus, a couple of new additions to the show. Be sure to check it out after the jump and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Vikings videos.

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wide left
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

“Wide Left: The Movie,” Bailey Cossairt’s documentary chronicling the Minnesota Vikings’s path from Gary Anderson’s infamous NFC Championship Game miss to present day, has just released its official trailer. You can watch it here:

The full film will be released March 30, 2017.

Earlier this month I did a fairly extensive interview with Cossairt about the film, offering an interesting glimpse into his process. One piece that stuck out was how he curated the sizable amount of footage needed for a Vikings movie with an estimated runtime of over an hour:

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wide left
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Bailey Cossairt, a junior at St. Cloud State University, is making a documentary. If you’ve been around #VikingsTwitter in the past month, chances are you’ve heard about Wide Left: The Movie, his forthcoming film about the Minnesota Vikings and their fans’ journey from the 1998 playoffs until present day. Cossairt has been making gaming documentaries on his YouTube channel for years, racking up hundreds of thousands and, in some cases, millions of views on the most popular videos. I chatted with him over the phone earlier this week to learn more out about his first foray into the world of sports documentaries.

 

Vikings Territory: First of all, how did you get into video production? Take me through that if you don’t mind.

Bailey Cossairt: I think it was in ninth grade. I started doing Lego stop motion movies, where you animate it picture by picture. So I started doing that kind of thing, and then I moved to doing a lot of videos with NFL 2K5—I don’t know if you’re familiar with that game.

VT: Yeah, I loved it.

BC: Yeah, so it received a lot of fan-made roster updates through the years, so I would download the newer rosters and make videos of, for example, Cam Newton in his rookie season, but we’re playing on this Playstation 2 game.

Eventually—it must have been my senior year of high school—I got really into watching documentaries, particularly ones about gaming. And I realized I was into watching eSports, and maybe I should try doing documentaries about gaming. The first one I made wasn’t really a documentary; it was only seven minutes long. But then I got into make videos that were a half hour long, 45 minutes long, and eSports were really taking off in 2014 and 2015. So I saw some real success with those. My last was in the fall of 2016, and at that point, I kind of lost interest in playing and watching Call of Duty or some other game—I just felt like I outgrew the whole thing. But throughout my entire life, I had been this huge Vikings fan, so in December I decided, you know what, I could probably make a documentary on the Vikings.

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