Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Latest Viking draft pick: A kicker out of Georgia

Posted by: under Vikings, Ryan Longwell Updated: April 28, 2012 - 3:01 PM

The Vikings have submitted pick No. 175 in this year's draft. And the winner is ... Georgia kicker Blair Walsh.

For a team with as many needs as the Vikings have, this is the second head-scratcher of the day, following the fourth-round selection of fullback/tight end Rhett Ellison, a Southern Cal prospect who said he didn't expect to be drafted at all.

Yes, to get Walsh, the Vikings are only using a sixth-round pick. And Walsh will provide some competition for veteran Ryan Longwell. But if Walsh doesn't make the team, it's not as if the Vikings can stash him on the practice squad.

Last season at Georgia, Walsh made 21 of 35 field goal attempts. That's 60 percent accuracy for those slow on the math skills. That leads you to believe that the Vikings likely targeted him more as a guy to potentially handle kickoff duties with the possibility, if he develops, of supplanting Longwell up the road.

Walsh was twice an All-SEC kicker (first team in 2010 and second team in 2011). Over four years at Georgia, he was 76-for-103 on field goal attempts, including 10 of 17 from beyond 50 yards.

Through six rounds, the summary of the Vikings draft picks is as follows: they've taken three defensive backs (Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson and Robert Blanton); two receivers (Jarius Wright and Greg Childs); an offensive tackle (Matt Kalil);  a fullback/tight end (Rhett Ellison) and a kicker (Walsh).

The Vikings have three seventh-round picks left, numbers 210, 211 and 219 overall.

 

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