It’s not quite the same as a January wild-card game at TCF Bank Stadium, but, for the record, Vikings kicker Blair Walsh made all five field goal attempts during the team portion of the OTA session that was held in the team’s indoor facility this morning.
In his first attempts during a team portion of an OTA session, Walsh was straight down the middle from 30, 33, 35, 37 and 40 yards. Afterward, he spoke to reporters who were eager to know whether he’s still stuck mentally on the 27-yarder he yanked way left with 22 seconds left in the 10-9 wild-card playoff loss to Seattle back on that frozen January afternoon.
“My common message to [those who have reached out to him] is it’s one moment,” Walsh said. “It won’t define me.”
Walsh was asked if he blocks the memory out or uses it as motivation.
“A little bit of both,” he said. “I’m way past the point of being upset about it or, you know, to the point where it bothers you like that. It’s something I’ve already dealt with and gone through. On a day-to-day basis, no, I don’t think about it. I really don’t use it like that.
“That initial month or so period, I definitely looked at it as motivation for me. But, like I said before, I had a good year. That was enough motivation for me going into this year.”
Walsh made 34 of 39 field goal attempts during the regular season and was 3 for 3 before missing the last kick against Seattle. He was 33 for 37 on PATs last season.
Walsh said he was satisfied for the most part with how he kicked outdoors the past two years. He moves inside to new U.S. Bank Stadium this year.
“You try to own the elements rather than try to get cute with them, and for the most part it worked,” he said. “I thought I had one of my better years as a pro. It was unfortunate how it ended. The nice thing is it keeps you hungry, keeps you motivated. Not that I’m not already, but it’s just a little extra fuel for the fire.”
Naturally, he’s happy to be moving back indoors this year.
“It’s always going to be easier indoors,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it’s easier to kick at TCF than it is inside. It’s just you can take the elements out of it and focus on your form and your craft. You can forget about, ‘Hey, man, it’s minus-10 out today.’ You get to go in there and act like it’s a normal day outside.”
Walsh said he hasn’t made any changes to his offseason routine this year. But he insists he’s ready to bounce back.
“I feel like I am better than I was last year,” he said. “I’m ready to go, honestly. I’m excited to go. Today was our first day doing live reps. It will be fun.”