For as long as Blair Walsh is in the NFL, he’ll be inextricably linked to the Seattle Seahawks. That’s a consequence of missing one of the most famous field goals in NFL playoff history, and it’ll be true whether or not Walsh is kicking for the team he helped send to the second round of the playoffs back in January 2016.
And with the Vikings heading west to face the Seahawks in their second preseason game on Friday night, Walsh’s 27-yard miss in the NFC wild card playoffs is back in the news, as is his ignominious exit from Minnesota. The Vikings cut Walsh last November, after he missed four field goals and four extra points in nine games (including two critical misses against the Lions on Nov. 5), and the kicker signed with Seattle in February.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who stood by Walsh through a round of struggles that seemed largely tied to the kicker’s confidence in the wake of his playoff miss, said he contacted Walsh to congratulate him when he signed with the Seahawks.
“I was happy for him, and that’s pretty much it,” Priefer said. “I’ll say hello to him; I’ve got no ill will. I like Blair. He’s a fine young man and we had four-and-a-half years together, so I’ve known him for a long time.”
In his first game with the Seahawks, Walsh hit two field goals — from 42 and 28 yards out — and made all six of his extra points. If that was a sign Walsh has moved on from his travails with the Vikings, count Priefer among those who are hoping for Walsh to make the best of his fresh start.
“He did a lot of really good things here in Minnesota,” Priefer said. “I know it didn’t end well for him and for us a couple years ago, but at the end of the day, he’s a very talented young man.”