Kicking in the NFL is a lot like putting in golf. The slightest hitch, increase in speed, or head movement can throw off a kick or putt. Sometimes, it’s as simple as getting inside your own head. For golfers, the “yips” can devastate what was once a solid short game. And for Blair Walsh, the “yips” are playing a nasty game on the Vikings’ star kicker, who is struggling mightily through three preseason games.
When the Vikings extended Walsh’s contract in July — a four-year deal worth up to $14 million, with $5.25 million in guarantees — it appeared to be a vote of confidence from Rick Spielman and the front office. Walsh had, in only his rookie season, earned a trip to the 2012 Pro Bowl after connecting on 92.1 percent of his field goals. More impressive was the fact that Walsh attempted 10 field goals of 50 or more yards, and connected on all of them that year.
He showed off the impressive leg that had made him a sixth-round pick out of Georgia, and converted more field goals than any other kicker in 2012. “After I saw the combine workout and then I went down to Georgia (where Walsh went to college) to work him out, I knew he had the leg strength to do that kind of damage as a field-goal kicker,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said before the 2012 NFL Draft, per the Pioneer Press.