Welcome to the Monday edition of The Cooler, where sometimes the stars are misaligned. Let’s get to it:
*Of course Blair Walsh is getting another chance in the NFL, this time as late competition in Falcons camp for the kicking job in Atlanta. And of course every story about Walsh this weekend referenced his 27-yard miss against Seattle in the playoffs.
But most of all: Of course if Walsh wins the job, he will be kicking against the Vikings in Week 1 of the regular season at U.S. Bank Stadium.
This is how it works with Vikings and kickers, or at least how it seems to work. Like a shortstop going through a streak of bad fielding, the ball always seems to find them.
It’s not enough for the Vikings to struggle with the kicking game. The latest, in case you missed it: Kaare Vedvik, the big-legged kicker/punter acquired for a fifth-round pick a couple weeks ago, missed both his field goal tries in Saturday’s 20-9 preseason win over Arizona. That was hardly the biggest concern (hello Kirk Cousins and the first-team passing offense), but it did lead Vikings coach Mike Zimmer to say in regards to Vedvik and the kicking game “I’m at a loss on that.”
But no, it’s not enough for the Vikings to have their own struggles. They must be reminded of past failures — potentially with Walsh in Week 1 and almost certainly in their second home game during Week 3 when they face the Raiders and second-year kicker Daniel Carlson.
Carlson, of course, was a fifth-round pick in 2018. He missed three field goals during a Week 2 tie with the Packers, and he was dumped. The Raiders scooped him up and he went 16 for 17 the rest of the way. Dan Bailey, the seasoned veteran brought in to replace him (with pretty much the 100 percent backing of everyone who follows the Vikings) missed seven field goals last year and was shaky enough in camp this year to usher in the Vedvik trade and competition.
Maybe the Vikings will make what proves to be the right decision this time, but history suggests otherwise.
And if you don’t think there is high potential for something weird to happen in the kicking game to determine the outcome of Week 1, Week 3 or both, you haven’t been watching Vikings football for very long.
*Jim Souhan wrote about the Twins’ starting rotation and its descent into mediocrity, which is all well and good. But let’s zero in on the end of the column, when relief pitcher Sergio Romo talks about tacos.
“Win, you eat tacos,” Romo said. “Don’t have a good day? Eat tacos. Makes me feel better. The first thing I did when I got to Minnesota was ask, ‘Siri, find me some good tacos.’”
Sergio Romo is a treasure.
*Former Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, now with the Rams, wasn’t exactly thrilled to leave Green Bay.
“I was kind of taken aback, because I thought I’d always be back there, whether it was at a cheaper price [or not],” Matthews said. “So that was kind of a shock, because [my family] stayed out there and had our third child in the offseason, and I was hanging in town training there and everything. And yeah, that was kind of a surprise to me because I just figured I would be out there a few more years. People say, ‘You chose to go to L.A.’ I didn’t choose. They told me there was no room for me.”