Links Of The Week

LINKS OF THE WEEK: Vikings’ Walsh Embraces New PAT

In a move expected by many, the NFL’s 32 owners approved the Competition Committee’s proposal on extra points for the 2015 season. The rule changes, which were passed on a 30-2 vote Tuesday, are as follows:

  • The extra point will now be kicked from the 15-yard line with two-point conversions remaining at the 2-yard line.
  • If the defense returns a blocked extra point or failed two-point try for a touchdown, they will be awarded two points. Under the previous rule the ball was dead on a failed try.

Blair Walsh, the Vikings’ ace fourth-year kicker, has been nearly perfect when kicking extra points — in 109 attempts, he’s missed just one kick, giving him a 99.1 career percentage in such situations. With the changes, extra points will now move to the 15-yard line, where Walsh has been nearly as successful.

In 31 career attempts between 30-39 yards (extra points are now 33 yards), Walsh has connected on 28 kicks. His leg from this distance is close to perfection, as he’s a 90.3 percent kicker in this range. When news broke of the rule changes, Walsh shared his response on Twitter:

For Walsh, the change in distance is negligible. His percentages from either distance are above average, and 33-yard field goals are routine for most NFL kickers. Defensive coaches and special teams coordinators will adjust their gameplans, scheming more “block” concepts into these plays, but I expect minimal effect on box scores next season.

If anything, the news is beneficial to players like Walsh; an increased importance on the extra point equates to an increase in value for kickers who can deliver from this range. Walsh, in turn, may enjoy a salary increase once his rookie contract expires.

For more Vikings news, check out the links below:

  • Defensive tackle Shariff Floyd wants to embody “feisty coach” Mike Zimmer with his play on the field.
  • Conor Orr of Around the NFL projected the Vikings’ 2015 starters on offense and defense — spoiler: Charles Johnson is NOT the team’s No. 1 receiver.
  • Bud Grant, the Vikings’ legendary head coach and short-lived Twitter hero, shut down his popular account after holding yet another garage sale.
  • Over at Vikings Journal, Arif broke down the most intriguing OTA and Training Camp position battles.
  • Brian Hall of Fox Sports North shared UDFA Anthony Harris’s motivations for choosing the Minnesota Vikings after Rick Spielman passed over him in the seventh-round.
  • A thorough pick-by-pick report card of the Vikings’ 2015 draft haul, courtesy of Daniel House.
  • The Minnesota Timberwolves won the NBA Draft Lottery and currently hold the No. 1 overall pick. Michael Rand of the Star Tribune imagines a world where the NFL Draft Lottery rules the football landscape.
  • Danielle Hunter has made quite the impression on head coach Mike Zimmer, but what impression will he make on the field? Andrew Krammer gives fans the scoop as part of a running series at ESPN 1500.
  • A bad week for commissioner Roger Goodell is only getting worse — the NFLPA wants the NFL and Goodell held in contempt of court in Adrian Peterson case
  • After a disastrous 2014 season, fans are starting to wonder why Matt Kalil is still at the top of the Vikings’ depth chart.
  • The Vikings, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke, will become the NFL’s “surprise playoff pick” in 2015.
  • Harrison Smith was the Vikings’ best defender last season, and Pro Football Focus recognized his elite play in their latest “PFF Top 101” rankings. Find out where he landed here.

And for the finale, one of the best Teddy Bridgewater highlight reels ever spliced together. This 16-minute gem, which has been viewed more than 25,000 times on Youtube, is filled to the brim with Bridgewater “dimes”:

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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