The kicker has worked hard in the offseason to improve his leg strength, and it paid off when he hit a career-long 55-yarder to win Sunday's game.
I had a conversation the other day with Ryan Longwell about Dallas kicker Nick Folk's 53-yard field goal with time running out that beat Buffalo last week on "Monday Night Football." Longwell hit a 55-yard field goal in the same situation Sunday, giving the Vikings a 34-31 victory at Chicago.
It was the longest field goal of Longwell's career.
He wasn't surprised to see Folk's accomplishment, and Longwell said he felt confident that, if given the opportunity, he would have a good chance to hit the long one.
"Yeah, guys are hitting long field goals. I think kickers are getting better," Longwell said. "I think that's the name of the game, kind of refining it."
Football has become a 12-month occupation for players, and Longwell talked about how kickers are now spending the offseason like position players, trying to get a stronger leg.
Longwell talked about how hard he worked in the offseason.
"I tweaked a little bit with my technique and worked out a little different, and it's paying off," he said.
He has made eight of nine field-goal attempts this year; the longest before Sunday was 49 yards. The one he missed was 52 yards at the end of regulation at Detroit, and had the ball not hit the upright, the Vikings would have won.
"We'll see how it lasts in November, December, but I'm pretty happy with how we're kicking off," he said. "Yeah, field goals feel like they're popping off the foot a little longer. So, we'll see. Hopefully I'll keep it up."
Going into the Bears game, Longwell had three touchbacks out of 16 kickoffs, ranking eighth in the NFC.
Use special ball
The kickers used what they call a special K-ball, a rule that went into effect in 1999 in which a separate, harder ball that doesn't travel as far is used in the kicking game.
"Yeah, kickoffs, punts, field goals and extra points, they bring in a ball from the sideline," Longwell said. "It's stamped from Wilson with a 'K' on it, the referees put their own seal on it and you have to use that ball. So they take the ball that's in the game out of play."
Longwell said there was a change in how the ball is handled this year that has helped the kickers.
"They tweaked the rule from time to time to adjust it, but really when [Cowboys quarterback] Tony Romo dropped the hold last year in the playoff game, they tweaked the rule so we could at least rub the wax off the balls, which we were never able to do, which made them really, really slippery before that," Longwell said.
He said the K-ball came into effect because former Viking Mitch Berger forced a record number of touchbacks and the league was looking for more kickoff returns.
What a break the Vikings got when the Packers decided to go a different direction and enabled the Vikings to sign their kicker, who, along with Fred Cox, will go down in Vikings history as one of the best placekickers to wear the purple.
Big day for Peterson
|Los Angeles||0||Top 5th Inning|
|Baltimore||6||Bottom 4th Inning|
|Miami - J. Fernandez||2:40 PM|
|Arizona - T. Cahill|
|San Diego - E. Stults||2:45 PM|
|San Francisco - M. Bumgarner|
|Los Angeles - C. Capuano||6:05 PM|
|NY Yankees - P. Hughes|
|Washington - G. Gonzalez||6:05 PM|
|Philadelphia - K. Kendrick|
|Kansas City - L. Mendoza||6:05 PM|
|Cleveland - J. Masterson|
|Colorado - J. Nicasio||6:07 PM|
|Toronto - M. Buehrle|
|NY Mets - S. Marcum||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - K. Medlen|
|Pittsburgh - J. Locke||6:10 PM|
|Cincinnati - B. Arroyo|
|Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson||6:10 PM|
|Boston - R. Dempster|
|Oakland - T. Milone||7:05 PM|
|Texas - J. Grimm|
|Chicago WSox - C. Sale||7:10 PM|
|Minnesota - K. Correia|
|Milwaukee - K. Lohse||7:10 PM|
|Houston - E. Bedard|
|Chicago Cubs - E. Jackson||7:15 PM|
|St. Louis - J. Westbrook|
|Seattle - J. Saunders||9:05 PM|
|LA Angels - C. Wilson|
|Chivas USA||9:00 PM|
|Montreal||6/20/13 6:00 PM|
|Winnipeg||6/20/13 6:00 PM|
|Calgary||6/20/13 9:00 PM|
|Edmonton||6/21/13 9:00 PM|
|Montreal||6/27/13 8:00 PM|