Walsh goes long way to making people forget Longwell

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 9, 2012 - 11:54 PM

Rookie kicker Blair Walsh was put on the spot right away and came through not once but twice.

It's not easy making 56,607 people forget a 16-year veteran with one swing of the foot. But Vikings kicker Blair Walsh found a way to do it in his NFL debut.

Walsh, the sixth-round draft pick who replaced Ryan Longwell on the roster, kicked a 55-yard field goal as time expired in regulation. Another field goal from 38 yards in overtime coupled with a final defensive stand gave the Vikings a 26-23 victory over the Jaguars in the season opener at Mall of America Field on Sunday.

"That's a make-or-break kick for a rookie in his first game, especially when you consider who he's replacing," said punter and holder Chris Kluwe. "Either you make it or you go home because that's exactly what he was brought in to do. I think it showed a lot about the maturity of a [22-year-old] guy."

Walsh never had to compete with Longwell, who ranks 11th in NFL history in career field goal accuracy (83.2) but was released a week after Walsh was selected 175th overall. Walsh had missed 14 of 35 attempts at Georgia as a senior but was billed as a great kickoff guy who needed some fine tuning by special teams coach Mike Priefer.

Done and done.

Walsh's deep kickoffs created three touchbacks and no return longer than 22 yards. The Jaguars' average starting spot following the six kickoffs was the 19.5-yard line.

But no one would have cared or even noticed if Walsh hadn't made both PATs, all four of his field-goal attempts and shown that his "intestinal fortitude is incredible," as coach Leslie Frazier summed up the 55-yarder that spared his résumé from another embarrassing fourth-quarter collapse.

No one was thinking about the possibility of that 55-yarder when Jacksonville was taking a three-point lead on a 39-yard touchdown catch by Cecil Shorts and a two-point conversion catch by Justin Blackmon with 20 seconds left in regulation.

Nobody except Walsh, that is.

"I told the coaches anything 60 and inside I could honestly give it a realistic shot," Walsh said. "I had a feeling it was coming. Twenty seconds was enough time to get it down the field."

Especially with Walsh's range. The third field goal of his NFL career matched Longwell's career long. Longwell's 55-yard came as an 11-year veteran in his 165th NFL game.

"It takes a lot of pressure off of the offense," quarterback Christian Ponder, who moved the team 32 yards in three plays to set up the field goal. "We know if we get it close -- not even that close since it was 55 yards -- if we just get it on their side of the field, there's a good chance we're going to come away with points."

Walsh wouldn't lie and say he didn't feel the pressure as he walked onto the field for 55-yarder.

"Everybody gets butterflies," Walsh said. "If they don't, there's something wrong with them. My mentality was just to hit it and make sure I got it there and give it a chance. And it went in. ... It's awesome."

  • related content

  • Rookie kicker Blair Walsh stepped into a 38-yard field goal in overtime. The celebration didn’t come until Jacksonville was stopped on downs.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Cleveland 11/6/14 7:25 PM
Cincinnati
Memphis 97 FINAL
Indiana 89
Cleveland 114 FINAL
Chicago 108
Philadelphia 81 FINAL
Milwaukee 93
Portland 94 FINAL
Sacramento 103
San Antonio 89 FINAL
Phoenix 94
LA Clippers 118 FINAL
LA Lakers 111
Toronto 4 FINAL
Columbus 1
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Detroit 5
Anaheim 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 1
Nashville 3 FINAL
Calgary 4
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 38 FINAL
Tulane 14
Tulsa 20 FINAL
Memphis 40
Air Force 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Memphis 11/7/14 6:30 PM
Temple
Utah State 11/7/14 7:00 PM
Wyoming
(12) Baylor 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(19) Oklahoma
(11) Kansas State 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(10) TCU
Hamilton 34 FINAL
Ottawa 25
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How has Mike Zimmer done so far as Vikings coach?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close