Blair Walsh hit another low Sunday after missing an extra point that could have prevented the Vikings’ 22-16 overtime loss to the Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Walsh has missed at least one kick in four of eight games, shaking already unstable ground after his inaccurate start to the season.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” coach Mike Zimmer said of Walsh’s stance on the roster. “Today’s not the day to be making any evaluations.”
Walsh’s frustrations spilled over in the locker room, where a testy exchange with reporters ended after less than two minutes.
“You guys got to understand, what do you want the answer to be?” Walsh asked rhetorically. “I want to be there for my team, of course I do, come on. You guys ask the same question every week: Did you make it? Why didn’t it go in? If I had the answer right away, I’d tell you.
“I’m confident in what I’m doing. I know that I’m going to be fine, but it’s tough right now.”
Zimmer admitted Walsh’s missed extra point, which bounced off the right upright in the third quarter, impacted his decision to forgo a field goal in the fourth quarter. Down 13-9 with eight minutes left in regulation, the Vikings turned it over on downs after running back Matt Asiata was stuffed on fourth-and-inches from the Lions 5-yard line.
Walsh said he “probably didn’t hit it well enough” when Lions defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker broke through the line and blocked a 46-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter.
Munnerlyn injury costly
Captain Munnerlyn said he will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam Monday morning after needing crutches and a brace on his right knee to exit U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. Munnerlyn left in the first half and returned for one snap, before exiting because of what the Vikings described as knee and ankle injuries.
“I consider myself a tough guy,” Munnerlyn said. “But couldn’t do it.”
After Munnerlyn’s exit, second-round pick Mackensie Alexander stepped in and was flagged for holding before surrendering a 1-yard touchdown to Anquan Boldin. Zimmer then pulled Alexander and moved veteran Terence Newman into the slot for the rest of the game.
Treadwell gets time
Vikings first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell got his first extended run of the season in the first game under interim offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The 21-year-old receiver caught his first NFL pass for 15 yards during a first-half series in which he was featured.
Treadwell had only played 12 snaps through seven games before Sunday.
“It’s about time he started getting some plays,” Zimmer said.
Stefon Diggs added punt returner to his usual duties, taking three returns for 29 yards after Marcus Sherels exited the game because of an ankle injury. Diggs also had a career-high 13 catches for 80 yards as the Vikings orchestrated a quick-pass attack that hastily got the ball out of Sam Bradford’s hands.
“Everybody will hop off the bandwagon after games like that,” Diggs said. “We’re still going to fight.”
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford continued a stellar 2016 campaign with his fourth game-winning drive of the season for the Lions (5-4). Stafford threw passes that led to four third-down conversions in overtime, including the touchdown pass to receiver Golden Tate that sealed the Vikings’ defeat.
“Obviously, it is not planned,” Stafford said of his winning drives. “We would like to score earlier in the game and have a lead, but it did not work out that way.”
Tate turned a sideline grab into a winning catch-and-run for a 28-yard touchdown in overtime, avoiding both Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith on missed tackles. Tate then somersaulted into the end zone as a U.S. Bank Stadium announced crowd of 66,807 fell silent.
“God just kind of took over me,” Tate said. “I don’t really remember that play. I caught it and next thing you know I was in the end zone.”