In the teeniest of perceptional baby steps, Vikings kicker Blair Walsh made all five field-goal attempts on the first day he was asked to perform during a full-speed team drill since, well, you know.
During Wednesday’s OTA session at the team’s indoor facility, Walsh was straight down the middle from 30, 33, 35, 37 and 40 yards. No, he wasn’t carried off the field with his index finger triumphantly raised. Yes, he considered it just another workday for a 26-year-old kicker with many more opportunities to move comfortably beyond that frozen January afternoon — the day he pulled a 27-yarder way left with 22 seconds remaining in a 10-9 wild-card playoff loss to Seattle at TCF Bank Stadium.
“My common message is it’s one moment,” Walsh said. “It won’t define me.”
Walsh said he’s past being upset about the miss and instead draws confidence from last year’s full body of work. He made 34 of 39 regular-season field-goal attempts and was 3-for-3 in the playoff game before the final attempt. He also went 33-for-37 on PATs.
“I thought I had one of my better years as a pro,” he said. “It was unfortunate how it ended.”
As for his offseason preparation to this point, Walsh said, “I feel like I am better than I was last year.”
Coach Mike Zimmer also sounds like a man who’s ready to move on from Walsh’s big miss.
“I’ve talked to him, but it’s more about what are you doing now, how you did today,” Zimmer said. “He hit all of them [Wednesday]. I’m sure you all marked it down how many he hit in a row. I made mistakes last year, too, so we’ll just go on about our business and try to get better.”
Sirles gets look at LT
The starting offensive line for Wednesday’s non-padded workout featured Phil Loadholt at right tackle, Brandon Fusco at right guard, Joe Berger at center, Alex Boone at left guard and Jeremiah Sirles at left tackle.
Matt Kalil was in uniform and has started every game at left tackle since 2012. But coaches wanted to see more of Sirles, who backed up right tackle last year.
Asked after his news conference Wednesday whether one can assume Kalil and Boone will be starters on the left side this season, Zimmer said, “I would assume Boone, probably.
“We’re rotating guys every day with different combinations and trying to figure out what’s the best group. I thought Sirles did a nice job [Tuesday]. It’s hard for me to tell [Wednesday] until I watch the film.”
Phil vs. Andre
Loadholt and center John Sullivan were cleared for OTAs after missing all of last season because of injuries. Loadholt is getting the first look ahead of Andre Smith at right tackle, while Sullivan is working with the second team.
Loadholt looked rusty, which is to be expected since he has missed the past 22 non-preseason games because of a torn pectoral in 2014 and a torn Achilles’ tendon last season.
“It was a little weird putting the helmet and stuff back on and getting back into cleats and stuff,” he said.
Sullivan started 93 of 109 games before missing all of last season while undergoing two back surgeries. Berger stepped in and was easily the team’s best offensive lineman in 2015.
“I think Sully has really come back in better shape,” Zimmer said. “He looks completely healthy to me, and Phil has worked into doing everything and I think he’s doing good, too.”
Floyd still hobbled
Defensive starters Anthony Barr, Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph didn’t participate Wednesday. Joseph is recovering from toe surgery. Asked if the other two were injured, Zimmer said, “Floyd is, yeah. And Barr, I don’t think he’s injured.”
Asked if Floyd’s injuries have carried over from last season, when he battled knee and ankle issues, Zimmer said, “It’s basically from last year.” So durability remains the one constant concern with Floyd.
“If it gets into training camp like that, then it will be an issue,” Zimmer said. “But I don’t think it will be that way.”
Dubose tears ACL
Second-year defensive tackle B.J. Dubose tore an anterior cruciate ligament during Wednesday’s OTA, according to a league source, and is expected to miss the entire 2016 season. Dubose suffered the knee injury during an 11-on-11 team drill, crumpling to the turf inside the team’s indoor practice facility and moments later limping away to the athletic trainer’s room.
• Andrew Sendejo isn’t letting go of the starting strong safety job without scrapping for it. He was with the first team while recent free-agent pickup Michael Griffin was with the second team.
Staff writer Matt Vensel contributed to this report.