The Vikings and kicker Blair Walsh have agreed to a contract extension that will make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid players at his position.
It is a four-year deal worth up to $14 million with $5.25 million guaranteed, per a league source. Walsh, still in uniform, signed the deal with General Manager Rick Spielman after the morning walkthrough.
“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings moving forward,” Walsh said in a statement. “I’d like to thank Rick Spielman, the Wilf family, Coach [Mike] Zimmer, [special teams coach] Mike Priefer and [executive V.P.] Rob Brzezinski for giving me this opportunity. I’m proud to be able to stay with the team that drafted me coming out of college and I look forward to what is in store for the future of this organization.”
The Vikings drafted Walsh in the sixth round in 2012. He missed just three field-goal attempts as a rookie and was named a first-team All-Pro.
After connecting on 61 of his 68 attempts in his first two seasons, Walsh made a league-low 74.3 percent of his field-goal tries in 2014. But the Vikings stood by the 25-year-old and have rewarded him with a new deal.
“Blair has been a vital part of our special teams success since we drafted him and we felt it was very important to secure his future with our organization,” Spielman said in a statement. “His consistency on kickoffs and on long range field goals can help change the game for our team and we’re excited for his future here in Minnesota. This extension stays true to our philosophy of drafting young talent, developing them in our system and rewarding their success.”
Walsh, who was entering the final year of his rookie deal, is the latest example of the Vikings signing a young pending free agent before the season started. Last year, they gave tight end Kyle Rudolph a new deal in training camp and re-signed guard Brandon Fusco the day before the season opener.