Until Blair Walsh missed way wide left in January, the Vikings had been enjoying an impressive run of very little kicking drama. Ryan Longwell was as steady as they come from 2006 to '11, and Walsh was often a sure thing from 2012 to '15 (until, you know, the 27-yarder).

The Vikings kicking game in the preceding years? It was a mess, often leading to them bouncing from journeyman to journeyman.

2005? Paul Edinger made just three of eight attempts between 30 and 39 yards and missed nine in all.

2004? Morten Andersen, age 44, was just 9-for-13 beyond 30 yards, with no attempts beyond 50 yards.

2003? Aaron Elling went 18-for- 25 (72 percent).

2002? Doug Brien was cut early after missing two extra points in one game. Gary Anderson, age 43, came back and went 3-for-8 between 40 and 49 yards.

All of that is a polite way of saying: As bad as Walsh has been lately, be careful what you wish for.

Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. michael.rand@startribune.com.