Craig: Will Walsh kick a record?

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 15, 2012 - 6:19 PM

The Vikings rookie seems to have the leg for it, and the Metrodome might be a perfect spot for a 64-yard field goal.

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Minnesota Vikings Blair Walsh kicked a 55- yard field goal

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

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As dumpy as it is, the Metrodome sure has witnessed its share of prominent NFL records.

The longest play (109 yards) and run from scrimmage (99 yards) were set there. Brett Favre broke Dan Marino's career mark for passing touchdowns there. And, heck, even the 109-yard return of a missed field goal by San Diego's Antonio Cromartie was upstaged that fall afternoon in 2007 by Adrian Peterson's single-game record of 296 yards rushing.

Judging by the strength of rookie kicker Blair Walsh's right leg, the Dome could be home to another hallowed mark before it's replaced in four years.

"Sixty-four yards?" asked Walsh, wondering himself if he'll ever get the chance to attempt a field goal from what would be a record distance. "I don't know. I never thought I'd be kicking a 55-yarder to tie the game as time expired in my first NFL game. So I don't know. I guess it could happen."

On Sept. 27, 1953, Bert Rechichar of the Baltimore Colts kicked a 56-yard field goal against the Chicago Bears. It was a big moment in the history of field goals because it broke Hall of Famer Paddy Driscoll's 29-year-old mark of 55 yards. Driscoll used a drop kick to nail the 55-yarder in 1924, the NFL's fifth season.

Rechichar's mark stood until Nov. 8, 1970, when the Saints' Tom Dempsey, a straight-on kicker who was born without toes on his right foot, hit a 63-yarder at Tulane Stadium to beat the Lions 19-17. Since then, the record has been tied three times -- twice in Denver, by the Broncos' Jason Elam in 1998 and Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski in 2011; and again last Sunday in Green Bay by San Francisco's David Akers.

Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer said Walsh would have attempted "anything inside of 65 yards" at the end of regulation against the Jaguars last week. One would assume that range won't change at home since the conditions inside the Metrodome never change.

And, who knows, the range might be pushed even farther back. After all, Walsh made a 68-yarder warming up in Mankato that even All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson is still talking about.

"There was some serious wind behind me in Mankato, so I don't know if 68 is realistic in a game," Walsh said. "It was blowing about 15-20 miles per hour straight behind me. So all I had to do was get it up there."

The longest attempt in NFL history is believed to be 76 yards by Janikowski against the Chargers in 2008. Denver's Ola Kimrin made a 65-yarder at Mile High Stadium during the 2002 preseason (and was still cut because the Broncos had Elam).

"We'll definitely see 64 yards one day," Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer said. "Janikowski's 63-yarder last year would have been good from 64. But the situation has to come at the end of the first half. It won't come at the end of a game or during a normal situation because you'd be giving the other team the ball back basically at a spot where they would need only a few yards to turn around and kick a field goal themselves."

It's believed that Walsh's 55-yarder would have been good from 60 yards. And that, according to Priefer, came without Walsh having to add "anything extraordinary" to his normal swing.

"Sixty-three yards is probably the pinnacle for most kickers, which is why you see the record lasting as long as it has," Walsh said. "Some people might not want the miss on their record, but it wouldn't bother me. I'd love to try one from 64 yards if it means we can get three points out of it."

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