Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where the more things change … let’s get to it:
*I’d like to see Blair Walsh succeed. I believe there should be a limit to human suffering, to the prison of one’s own mind, and that somewhere within Walsh there lives the kicker who was dominant as a Vikings rookie in 2012 — absolutely an underrated reason that Christian Ponder-led team went 10-6 and made the playoffs — but has fought the yips periodically since then and particularly after missing wide left in the playoffs after the 2015 season.
As such, it gives me no particular joy to report that Walsh, who kicked for Seattle in 2017 but was out of the NFL last season, does not seem to be seizing his third chance after being added recently to the Falcons camp roster.
I cannot confirm the distance of this attempt captured on video from Tuesday’s practice by ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, but I do know that it missed wide left. Trigger warning. Here it is:
That was just one of four kicks Walsh reportedly missed in practice Tuesday.
It has Falcons fans (and maybe even owner Arthur Blank) thinking fondly of Matt Bryant, the 44-year-old kicker who made 95% of his field goals last season for Atlanta and 88.7% over the last decade but was cut in February.
As a reminder: The Vikings and Falcons meet in Week 1 at U.S. Bank Stadium, a mere 11 days from now. Neither team’s kicking situation is anywhere near settled.
*I told you Tuesday morning that Christian Yelich was trying to tell a fan named Roxane to relax about his tasteful nudes. The Brewers slugger turned his at-bat music into a subtweet, upping the ante in a big way Tuesday night.
*Andrew Luck has received a lot of headlines lately for his retirement, but remember Rob Gronkowski? Yeah, the other in-his-prime (age: 30) NFL star who retired? He, too, did so because of the pain.
“I don’t feel like they really understand what the beatings can truly do to your body,” Gronk said this week. “How they can affect your overall life, and how they can take away joy from your life because your brain is just trying to focus on healing a body part because you took such a massive hit.”
*The Lynx clinched a playoff spot for the ninth straight season with another nice win Tuesday over Chicago. The battle now is for the chance to host a first-round playoff game. Minnesota (16-15) is in the No. 6 spot by a half-game over Seattle (15-15) and a game over Phoenix (14-15), but the three teams are tied in the loss column.
Phoenix plays both the Lynx and Seattle at home before the season ends. Seattle would win a head-to-head tiebreaker against the Lynx. The No. 6 seed hosts a single-elimination first-round playoff game, while the Nos. 7 and and 8 seeds are on the road. It should be a fun end of the regular season.
Remember: The Lynx finished 18-16 last season with Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus playing key roles. This year, Moore is sitting out, Whalen is retired, Brunson hasn’t played because of lingering effects of a concussion and Augustus has played sparingly because of knee troubles. Making the playoffs with what should be a nearly identical record to last season but with a largely new cast of characters is a feat.